Google HQ beckons for Dominican whizz kids

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Two pupils from Dominican College in Portstewart are off to Silicon Valley and the board room at Google Headquarters!

Earlier this month, pupils from the school were flying the flag for the North West, when they took part in an app development competition.

Three teams from the school - Anna Lagan and Jessica Howard, Liam Broadway and Sam Stuart, and Sebastian Kania, Hannah McAleenon and Peter Mitchell pitched their app ideas to judges representing the IT industry.

The judges included representatives from Google, Yahoo and Fujitsui, and one Dominican team wowed the judges scooping first prize.

This week, The Coleraine Times spoke to the winning team - Liam Broadway and Sam Stuart to find out more about their app, and their trip of a lifetime to the US, which will see them visiting Stanford University and Google Headquarters in San Francisco, where they will sit in a Google board meeting.

The pair, who are both aged 14, developed and designed their app - ‘employapple’ which centred on the idea of communication and information sharing between employers and their employees.

The judges praised the idea describing it as ‘scalable and flexible’ and invited the Dominican pupils to showcase their app solution at a business and IT event at the Titanic in Belfast.

Vice Principal, Mr Jerry Lynch praised all three Dominican teams for their work on their app solutions: “It is wonderful that these pupils have been recognised for their skills, however I am really not surprised with the success,” he said.

“We have a clear focus on virtual learning here at Dominican, and it is wonderful that Liam and Sam will be able to pass on these skills to others.”

The school’s Head of IT, Mr McDaid, who will accompany the pupils to America added: “I want to congratulate all of our app teams and indeed all the pupils who pitched their apps - you were a credit to yourselves and to the school.

“This success builds on previous achievements in ICT at a whole-school level in Dominican such as the ICT charter mark and at an individual level for pupils.

“At Key Stage 3 pupils at DCP undertake two years of initial creative ICT that includes programming using a range of platforms and environments, for example where pupils create games for the Xbox using the Kodu environment using game controllers rather than the traditional keyboard and mouse; graphic design – CAD and Photoshop; web design and games development.

“Pupils then focus on traditional Office-based software in preparation for GCSE. This success augurs well for future work within the school.”