A team of middle school students from Girls Preparatory School in Chattanooga has been selected to compete in a national contest for a mobile app concept designed to help calm and help the mental health of participants.
The GPS middle school team was named named Best in State winners in the 5th annual Verizon Innovative Learning app challenge for its mobile app concept called Ripple. The team will receive a $5,000 award from the Verizon Foundation for their school and tablets for each student team member.
As one of two winners from Tennessee, the team is now eligible to win one of eight Best In Nation Awards, selected by a panel of education and industry experts, and the Fan Favorite Award, determined by public voting, to earn an additional $15,000 for their school and the opportunity to work with MIT Media Lab experts to bring their app idea to life.
The app would feature calming games, a chat room to share experiences and give advice to others, and a customizable koi fish you can use to track your mood.
In its proposal, the students said Ripple will work to try and solve the utter loneliness that people with mental illnesses face. The group would like to "ultimately have a wide variety of people it can accommodate to. For example, we want community discussion boards. This could be a stretch, but we know that having different kinds discussion forums will make the person feel more welcomed. Of course, Ripple's main purpose is to welcome people."
The students who developed Ripple tout the new app as "a mental health app that's for everyone."
The GPS faculty advisor for the new app is Jill Pieritz.
Voting among the finalists competing for the $15,000 prize is open until Feb. 14. Persons may vote to help Ripple win the Fan Favorite award by texting the code found next to the team's entry at verizon.com/appchallenge/vote to 22333.
The students' winning app idea was selected from more than 1,800 submissions nationwide.
The Fan Favorite and Best in Nation teams will present their completed apps at the annual Technology Student Association (TSA) Conference in Orlando, Fla., in June 2017, courtesy of Verizon Innovative Learning, the education initiative of the Verizon Foundation. Their apps will be downloadable from the Google Play store.