Lowndes County students create app to help others

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By: Emma Wheeler | WCTV Eyewitness News
February 20, 2019

LOWNDES COUNTY, Ga. (WCTV) -- Two Hahira Middle School students are gaining the attention of the nation's leaders from what started out as a class project.

Eight grade students Kaitlynn Stalvey and Sara Whiddon placed fourth in the Congressional App Challenge, a nationwide competition which encourages innovations and achievements in computer science in schools.

The two created "Inside Out," an app that could change the game.

"If you're feeling angry and you want to listen to music, calm music comes on so it can relax you. If you're feeling happy, upbeat music, like you want to dance around plays," Stalvey said. "It helps non-verbal kids be able to express themselves a little bit more."

The app is meant to make it easier for kids with special needs to communicate with teachers and peers by playing games and listening to music.

"My mom is a special education teacher at the high school, so I kind of thought about that, too, like they can use that at the high school if they needed to use that," Whiddon said.

On Wednesday, the students were recognized by Congressman Austin Scott for placing in the Congressional App Challenge. The pair were the youngest students to enter in the district.

Teacher Laila Taylor integrated the app building about three years ago. All of her students build an app, but said this one stood out. Taylor plans to continue the program.

"These kids just take to it, they just take to technology because they're not afraid of it. They're not afraid to change it," Taylor said. "Let them see that there are so many job possibilities, especially for girls right now in computer science. That's something that that field is really lacking."

Hahira Middle School has the app on its tablets. Officials hope to make it available in the Google Play Store.