1/5/19—A student at Girls Preparatory School (GPS) will travel to the 2019 #HouseofCode reception in Washington, D.C., as the winner of Tennessee’s Third District’s Congressional App Challenge. Seventh-grader Emerson C. won the competition with her game app, Litter Awareness, which features a polar bear that has to traverse a maze to reach her cub without getting caught in litter. If the polar bear entangles itself in litter, a message pops up regarding the dangers of environmental degradation.
Emerson designed the educational app through her Design & Discovery class taught by Karen Richards, GPS computer science teacher. “Emerson 100 percent deserves this win,” said Richards. “She had a vision of what she wanted to do from the very start. She started with a simple maze and gradually grew its difficulty over time. Emerson cares deeply for the environment. She worked diligently during class time, came to help classes, and even came to my room during a couple of her study halls to fix bugs along the way.”
Emerson’s success reflects GPS’s commitment to encouraging girls in STEM-related fields. Dr. Autumn Graves, Head of GPS, said, “We are so proud of Emerson—for her creativity and her passion for programming and the environment. Beginning in middle school, our students are given many opportunities to shine across the STEM fields, and Emerson approached the app challenge with much enthusiasm and support from her teacher.”