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DC High Schoolers Win Verizon App Challenge


This group of high schoolers from McKinley Tech, a DC public school, won “Best in State” in Verizon’s Fourth Innovative App Challenge. The team won for its GFire mobile app, a tool that enhances family safety during a house fire or gas leak. The idea was inspired by one of the student developers whose aunt and family were victims of a house fire.

The app was one of over 1,200 entries received in the nationwide contest and one of 92 student teams to win “Best in State.” Each team member won a tablet and the group earned a $5k grant from the Verizon Foundation for their school.

The McKinley Tech team is now waiting to see if they’ll be one of eight teams to win “Best in Nation,” which will be announced Feb. 2. The team is also in the running for “Fan Favorite.” Winning these national awards could mean another $15k for their school, the chance to make their apps into working products with MIT Media Lab experts and an all-expenses-paid trip to the National Technology Student Association Conference in Nashville in June.