HELENA – The annual Montana App Challenge was held on Saturday at the Capitol Rotunda, where middle school and high school students from across the state built mobile apps to solve social challenges in their community.
There were 15 teams of students who built apps addressing issues such as cyberbullying, teen suicide, water quality, and air quality – all competing for prizes and to show the rest of the students what type of app they created.
Catherine Gustin, 14 years old, created an anti-bullying app. People who have been bullied can share their stories with others who were bullied. Gustin said her app is called “Talk To Me.”
“The young minds are able to relate better to the topic because they’ve experienced it more recently, whereas adults can experience a topic, however they haven’t been related to it recently, so students are closer to the issues and know exactly how and what the issues are,” Gustin said.
“I just think it’s amazing when you talk to kids about the future; they are growing up with mobile phones, this is their environment so when you give them the tools to create rather than just consume it’s incredible what they can build”, said Devin Holmes, founder of Big Sky Code Academy.
The event was hosted by Big Sky Code Academy, a non-profit organization that says they want to improve the lives of Americans through technology; and the Montana Code Girls Program, geared toward inspiring young girls in S.T.E.M (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math).