Two MPS Students Recognized As”Fan Favorite” In National Competition

Photo: North Division Principal Keith Carrington, Qiaira Matthews and Superintendent Darienne Driver. Qiaira, along with classmate Tatiana Loyd, received the Milwaukee Board of School Directors 'Excellence in Education' award in September.

MILWAUKEE – Two Milwaukee Public Schools students studying mobile app development were recognized for their first place finish as a “Fan Favorite” in a national app competition.

North Division High School students Tatiana Loyd and Qiaira Mathews were awarded the MPS Board of Directors Excellence in Education Award for their achievement at the MPS Board meeting Thursday evening. The two North Division students'”Emoji Encouragement” app is one of just two teams voted first place nationwide in the “Fan Favorites” category in the Lenovo Scholars Network competition.

The app is designed to support students battling cancer, sickle cell anemia, depression and other diseases or those with low self-esteem with words of encouragement. The two students stayed after school, worked from home and even came in over spring break to work on the app and accompanying video presentation, according to North Division lead computer science teacher Melissa Menge.

The students earned a tablet and a trip to the National NAF Conference in Orlando from Lenovo and NAF. NAF (formerly the National Academy Foundation) transforms the high school experience by infusing STEM and work-based learning experiences into curriculum to ensure students graduate and are college, career, and future ready. The winning team plans to enter another app in the contest this year and will further develop their mobile app programming skills in the Advanced Placement Computer Science Principles class at North Division. This is the first time this class the College Board as offered this class.

North Division is only one of two MPS high schools to implement Academies of Information Technology, which offers students industry-specific classes related to the growing field of IT. Students participate in work-based learning activities and internships to put their lessons into action.

The two MPS schools – North Division and Washington High School of Information Technology – are also among only 30 schools nationwide to be chosen to take part in the Lenovo Scholars Network, which works to train the next generation of mobile application developers with MIT’s App Inventor, provides ongoing support from MIT faculty, hosts teacher training and awards a class set of laptops and tablets to schools selected for the grant. This is the second straight year MPS students have won the Fan Favorite award.

MPS Superintendent Dr. Darienne Driver joins North Division Principal Keith Carrington and the MPS family in congratulating the students, their educators, their families and the support staff that helped make this national accomplishment possible.