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White House invites app team

‘Hello Navi’ innovators head to science fair

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Posted: Thursday, May 22, 2014 10:16 pm

The team developing the Hello Navi mobility application at Resaca Middle School in Los Fresnos has garnered an invitation to this year’s White House Science Fair.

This year’s fair will include a specific focus on girls and women who are excelling in the STEM fields of science, technology, engineering and math, the White House said in announcing the event. The team developing the Hello Navi app just happens to be all female.

In March, Resaca Middle School received a $20,000 check for winning one of eight

Best in Nation awards

in the Verizon Innovative App Challenge to

create mobile smartphone applications.

Cassandra Baquero, Grecia Cano, Kaitlin Gonzales, Kayleen Gonzalez, Janessa Leija and Jacquelyne Torres wrote the concept for the app to assist their blind classmate, Andres Salas. They and their sponsor, science teacher Maggie Bolado, are in the process of developing the app.

The White House invitation was limited to three of the six students only. Resaca Middle School Principal Asael Ruvalcaba and Bolado held a drawing to determine which three students would attend. Baquero, Gonzales and Leija will represent the school. Salas was also invited, and Ruvalcaba and Bolado will

also attend.

Obama hosted the first White House Science Fair in late 2010, fulfilling a commitment he made at the launch of his Educate to Innovate campaign to inspire students to excel in math and science. As the president noted then, “If you win the NCAA championship, you come to the White House. Well, if you’re a young person and you produce the best experiment or design, the best hardware or software, you ought to be recognized for that achievement, too.”

Bolado said, “We are extremely proud that Resaca Middle School is getting this kind of exposure and happy that our students are experiencing the by-products of classroom education.”

Hello Navi integrates a variety of digital tools such as a compass, scanner, VoiceOver, optical braille readers and Google indoor navigation technology to guide blind or visually-impaired students around their schools, or any building.

Resaca Middle School students and other winning teams have received in-person training by Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s App Inventor Training Corps to build their apps and make them available for download. They are scheduled to complete their app by June 1, and present it at the 2014 National Technology Student Convention in Washington June 27-July 1.

glong@brownsvilleherald.com

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