Johns Creek students win national app challenge

- A group of students at Johns Creek High School have turned a carpooling idea into an award winning app.

They entered Verizon's Innovative App Challenge and won $20,000 for their school. The bright group of students came up with "Vroom," a new app designed to help students get home after school so they can participate in extracurricular activities.

You could hear the cheers down the hallway of Johns Creek High School, as Verizon surprised this group of students for winning their Innovative App Challenge. "We've talked to a lot of students and parents and they're all so supportive of the app. They're like, 'oh my gosh, this will help us so much. This is what we need,'" exclaims Sneha Iyer.

"Vroom" matches students in need of a ride, with other students that have cars, or even parents already there picking up their kid. Their video submission shows a student who has to skip robotics, and ride the bus because his parent can't come pick him up.

"We thought, why not increase the efficiency and partner some of the students who don't have rides home with some of the students that do," explains Preeti Iyer.

Tiffany Hsieh adds, "As freshmen and sophomores, I remember I had a lot of difficulties getting a ride home, so sometimes I just wouldn't stay after school because I knew I couldn't get a ride and so that's where we came up with this idea."

The app works to match students who live within a 5 mile radius of one another. "At our school, we have like 10 or 12 main neighborhoods where all the kids live in, so there's a very good probability that kids live within a mile or two miles of one another, so it's no trouble at all just to go the extra effort," Sneha says.

Aside from winning $20,000 for Johns Creek High School, this team will also have the chance to turn the app into a reality. They will be partnered with the Center for Mobile Learning at MIT to put the app on the Google Play market.

"We get to make it a real thing, we get to help people, which is what we want to do," Jacob Abramow says.

"It's better on the parents and more environmentally friendly. It's also a great opportunity for students to meet students that they wouldn't meet otherwise in different grades and different activities," adds. Sneha.

The students also won an addition $5,000 for the school and free tablets for being Best in Stat, before Best in Nation. The goal of the Verizon Innovative App Challenge is to get teams of students to solve problems in their school or community. They also hope it helps encourage STEM career paths, which are science, technology, engineering, and math.

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