Trip of a lifetime for Domincan pair

Bill Connor from Sentinus, Gareth Quinn from Digital DNA, Sam Stuart and Liam Broadway from Dominican College Portstewart with their teacher, Mr McDaid at the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco
Bill Connor from Sentinus, Gareth Quinn from Digital DNA, Sam Stuart and Liam Broadway from Dominican College Portstewart with their teacher, Mr McDaid at the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco

Two pupils from Dominican College in Portstewart experienced a very special school trip this week when they visited some of the world’s major technology landmarks in San Francisco.

Year 11 pupils Liam Broadway and Sam Stuart, along with teacher Peter McDaid, made the visit to Silicon Valley with Digital DNA, courtesy of Aer Lingus, during St Patrick’s week after winning the technology company’s Digital Futures competition last year.

Dominican College Portstewart pupils Liam Broadway and Sam Stuart with local Park Ranger, Rik Penn at the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco

Dominican College Portstewart pupils Liam Broadway and Sam Stuart with local Park Ranger, Rik Penn at the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco

During the trip the boys visited some of the world’s leading technology brands including Uber, Facebook, Google and Microsoft.

They also went to Stanford University to learn from some of the globe’s great tech thinkers.

Digital DNA’s Digital Futures Programme, aimed at inspiring the next generation of STEM business leaders in Northern Ireland, launched in June 2013 in partnership with Sentinus.

The programme included a six-week roadshow across schools in Northern Ireland, engaging 3,000 young people with a challenge to consider a challenge or opportunity facing the consumers or businesses and create a digital solution.

The boys from Dominican College won the top prize after creating ‘Employapple’, an app that allows employers and employees to share information in the workplace. The boys wowed the judges with their creativity, technical knowledge and hard work, presenting a working version of the app on mobile and PC platforms.

Speaking about the trip, Liam Broadway said: “The Digital Futures event was a lot of fun and Sam and I really enjoyed working on the idea for our app.

“It was a brilliant experience to get it up and running and when we found out we’d won and we were off to San Francisco, it was like a dream come true!”

Sam Stuart added: “I still can’t believe that we won the competition and the trip to San Francisco.

“I’ve been into technology for ages, and to visit places like Google, Uber and Microsoft is just mind-blowing.”

The trip to San Francisco was organised by Digital DNA.

Its Managing Director, Gareth Quinn, joined the boys on the trip to the US.