Marcus Rakentine is a high school senior with a keen interest in programming…and baseball. A Gloucester High School student who attends the New Horizons Regional Education Center (The Governor’s School for Science and Technology), Marcus participates in the Scientific Programming Strand. One of Marcus’ requirements this year is to work on a project under the supervision of a mentor to gain valuable experience. When the school asked Daniel Holloway, Coordinator of Software Development at Gloucester County Public Schools, to be Marcus’ mentor, he readily accepted.
Marcus had no difficulty deciding on what type of project he would pursue. You see, Marcus loves baseball and, he reasoned, what better way would there be to complete his senior project than to do something on a subject he loves. So, he decided that he would create a baseball application (“app”), but he needed to increase his knowledge on JavaServer Faces (JSF), web applications, and databases.
Enter Apps4VA. During the senior project planning process, Mr. Holloway saw an email about the Apps4VA competitions. According to Holloway, “I thought, ‘This would be a great opportunity for Marcus to become familiar with the technology and tools we will be using for creating his baseball application.’” So, after some discussion, Marcus decided that rather than entering an idea for a theoretical app, he would build an actual working prototype. Since the Apps4VA competition required that submissions be based on the Virginia Department of Education’s (VDOE) VLDS data, Marcus decided to create a tool to help parents and school administrators analyze indicators of college and career readiness. He named his app Path to Success (P2S).
During the weeks that followed, under the guidance of Mr. Holloway, Marcus learned the skills he needed to create a working prototype. In so doing, he also gained the skills he would need to create his baseball application, but he also gained something else. In late February, Marcus and Mr. Holloway were thrilled to learn that, in fact, P2S won first prize in the Apps4VA High School Competition. It was a great experience for both of them. But, the Apps4VA experience won’t end there.
Marcus and Mr. Holloway agreed that P2S would be a great project for other students. So, Mr. Holloway will continue to use and expand the app with future students. You can see a video of P2S at https://dps.gc.k12.va.us:8443/Apps4VATutorial/. (Requires most recent Safari, Firefox, IE 9)