Olde Towne Middle School Team Wins Best in State in Verizon Innovative Learning App Challenge, is Eligible to Win $15,000 for the School in Fan Favorite Contest

Pictured are the Olde Towne Middle School Verizon app challenge team members (from left): Xavier Pawlak, Allen Richert, Sasha Lewis, Aiden Alsworth and Daniel Lynn.

To vote for the Olde Towne Middle School Team’s submission, text the word LUNCH to 22333 by February 14.

Ridgeland, Miss. – A team of sixth- and seventh-graders at Ridgeland’s Olde Towne Middle School (OTMS) has won Best in State for their entry in the Verizon Innovative Learning app challenge, a nationwide contest challenging students to design mobile app concepts aimed at improving and solving societal issues in their schools and communities. The highly competitive contest attracts more than 1,800 app concept submissions each year. With this award, the OTMS team earned $5,000 for their school’s STEM program, and each team member will receive a tablet, book bag, an app challenge t-shirt and certificate.

As a Best-in-State winner, the OTMS team is now eligible to enter the Fan Favorite contest, where people from across the country vote for their favorite app concept. The team with the most votes will receive an additional $15,000 for their school to help students build their app, as well as in-person app development training from MIT experts and an all-expenses-paid trip for each student to attend the Technology Student Association National Convention in Orlando, Fla., in June.

Team members Allen Richert, Xavier Pawlak, Aiden Alsworth, Sasha Lewis and Daniel Lynn wanted to come up with a way to reduce food waste in the cafeteria. Their concept, the Lunch-o-matic, is a multi-feature app that would allow students to select their cafeteria menu choices in advance. The app would also provide nutritional information about menu items so students with special dietary needs can select accordingly.

“Our app will ensure that the cafeteria prepares enough of students’ favorite meals so they don’t run out during lunch,” said sixth-grader Aiden Alsworth. “Over 40 percent of food in the U.S. gets thrown away, and that figure keeps climbing. That’s bad for the environment and for the budget.”

With the Lunch-o-matic app, the cafeteria would receive aggregated student menu choices to serve as a guideline to determine the quantity of menu items to order and cook.

“We are proud to represent our state in this contest and would really love to win $15,000 for our school,” said team captain Allen Richert. “We hope fellow Mississippians will take a few seconds to vote and ask their friends to do the same.”

To cast your vote for OTMS’s Lunch-o-matic App, simply text the word LUNCH to the number 22333. Only one vote per mobile phone is accepted. Voting is open now through February 14.

For more information, contact:
Jan Richardson
Best in State Verizon App Challenge Team Coordinator
Olde Towne Middle School

About Olde Towne Middle School:

Olde Towne Middle School is the sixth- through eighth-grade middle school serving the Ridgeland attendance zone of the Madison County School District. The school is located at 210 Sunnybrook Road. For more information, please call 601-898-8730 or visit madison-schools.com/otm.

 About Verizon Innovative Learning:

Verizon Innovative Learning, the education initiative of the Verizon Foundation, created the Verizon Innovative app challenge in partnership with the Technology Student Association, and in collaboration with the MIT Media Lab, to spark greater student interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) and provide hands-on learning experiences. The annual app challenge encourages kids to create an idea for a mobile app that will help their school or community solve a problem. As students develop app concepts, they learn teamwork, creative problem solving and entrepreneurship skills. Since the contest launched in 2012, almost 3,500 teams from all 50 states and the District of Columbia have submitted app concepts. The competition has engaged more than 24,000 boys and girls in urban, suburban and rural areas, including many underserved communities.