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Ready, Set, App! competition highlights student creativity and tech savvy

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Gov. Roy Cooper recently announced three winning high school teams for the fifth annual Ready, Set, App! Competition, following record participation. 

Ninety-five teams from 26 counties registered to participate this year, according to a press release, with 56 semifinalist teams submitting fully functioning original apps.

On April 26, business and tech-industry experts heard pitches from eight student teams from across North Carolina. Each team created original, fully functioning mobile apps geared to solve a problem in their school or community.

“Competitions like Ready, Set, App! provide high school students with great opportunities to apply the skills they are learning in school to solve real-world problems,” Cooper said. “These students are North Carolina’s future leaders and innovators, and I am proud of their creativity and teamwork.”

Here is a look at the three winning student teams for this year’s competition:

  • Team ServeIT, from the Early College of Guilford in Guilford County Schools, won first place for creating an app that helps students earn volunteer hours and driving experience by delivering donations to local nonprofits. Team members include Siddarth Giridharan, Olivia Mosca, and Madeline Chandler.
  • Team Autism Assist, from Cox Mill High School in Cabarrus County Schools, won second place for creating an app that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to help people with autism recognize social cues and access resources about autism. Team members include Sarthak Gupta, Aditya Mehta, and Gaurika Gupta.
  • Team SkinSense, from Enloe High School in Wake County Public School System, won third place for creating a melanoma detection app that uses a machine learning model. Team members include Saiakhil Chilaka, Neil Patel, Rosalind Eccles, Vedant Iyer, and Kunwar Kalra.

“It’s really encouraged me to harness technology to solve issues in my community,” one participating student said in a video about the competition. “We really have the power to change the world around us.”

The annual competition is an initiative of the North Carolina Business Committee for Education (NCBCE), a business-led, education nonprofit within the Governor’s Office, and is sponsored by Lenovo. 

Student teams consist of three to five students, plus an advisor. Teams were tasked to design and develop an android mobile application to solve a problem in their local context. Throughout the competition, students were provided project workbooks, virtual workshops, and a high school intern to act as a peer mentor and help with coding, app design, and project management. 

Lenovo professionals, educators, business leaders, and government officials reviewed the 56 apps before picking eight finalists. 

“Lenovo recognizes the value of young, diverse talent and the importance of work-based learning experiences,” said Libby Richards, Lenovo’s community engagement manager. “We continue to be impressed with the quality and creativity of the Ready, Set, App! finalists and I am excited to see what the future holds for these bright students.”

All North Carolina high school students are eligible to compete in the competition. Next school year’s kickoff is planned for fall 2024. Intern applications will open in September and team registration will open shortly after. 

For more information about the Ready, Set, App! competition, you can visit NCBCE’s website