A tiny northwest Wyoming school district has won a national technology contest, and $20,000 in cash. They competed against 1800 schools nationwide. The 7th grad winners won the prize for an app idea.
The students, teachers, and parents cheered as balloons popped and confetti rained down. This is what happens when you win a national contest for your school. The Meeteetse 7th graders were told they were just going to another school assembly, but were shocked when they were told they were Best in Nation winners of Verizon’s Innovative Learning app challenge.
Team member Kalvin Erickson said, “This is unbelievable. Like last night I kept thinking, there’s that little bit that says we might not go.”
Erickson has apparently adopted the school motto, “We refuse to be average. We choose to be unstoppable.”
He continued, “There’s no way that anyone else can stop us. This is just awesome.”
The students not only received a big check for $20,000 for their school, they each got their own tablet, and an all-expenses-paid trip to the Technology Student Association Conference in Orlando, Fla., to present their finished app.
How did they do it? Their small town sits below the snow covered mountains of northwest Wyoming, 30 miles from Cody, and the closest place to buy fresh fruit, or vegetables. So, they told us last month about their Farmersbook app, that would connect local hungry customers, with local growers.
Meeteetse Technology Teacher Clint Elliott advised the team.
He explained, “They’d be able to get on their phone, look up the app, and say, I’d like to get fresh carrots within five miles of here.”
Meeteetse isn’t just a school or a group of schools. With 136 students, it’s an entire district. It is one of the smallest in the state of Wyoming.
But, size doesn’t matter in the Verizon contest. They asked for just app ideas to level the playing field.
Verizon Spokesperson Meagan Dorsch explained, “They don’t have to have access to technology, and they don’t have to have any knowledge of technology because if they go on to win like Meeteetse they get to take that idea, and then make it a real app in the Google playstore.”
So, long after the celebration, these students will enjoy their national title. Next stop, Wyoming’s legislature in Cheyenne. Contest adviser Mike Power says they’ll deliver a message.
Power said, “There are schools across the state that are doing amazing things in the classroom, and hopefully we get recognized for what we accomplish, and the strong education we’re providing these kids throughout the state.”
An M-I-T team will visit the school soon to help the students turn their idea into an actual app, which will be available for download.