AUSTINTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – An Austintown Fitch High School senior has invented an app that he says will help students stay organized.
Last week, Fitch senior Max Bleggi took his app, called the “Student Planner,” to the Congressional App Challenge — a competition aimed at encouraging high school students to learn how to code by creating their own applications. Bleggi was one of 130 winners, out of the more than 1,700 entries from 116 districts across the country.
The app includes the ability for teachers and students to enter in events such as tests, projects or homework assignments and receive notifications for those events. The app also has an instant messaging feature.
“Teachers can message students, as well as vice versa, and… students can message other students, and there’s even a class message system so the whole class can have a group message,” he said.
Although he made it specifically for his high school, Bleggi said any school could use it eventually.
“I often times forget my notebook or forget different things like that, and one day, I just saw everybody had their phones out in class and they were kind of looking at their phones during the free time,” he said.
Bleggi approached the school’s principal, Chris Berni, last summer with the idea. In June, he started building it and finished it a week before school started.
He took an online college coding course during his sophomore year of high school and also taught himself how to program by following Google’s design philosophy for the app.
It wasn’t an easy task.
“For every step that I’d take, it was almost like three steps back, and I just had to keep going forward and keep banging my head against the wall,” he said.
His science teacher, Julie Williams, said she wasn’t surprised to hear he won.
“I think it’s awesome, and I think it’s something that’s just really reflecting how he’s going above and beyond what a high school student would do, in terms of taking something they’re interested in and just really applying it in the real world,” she said.
Although the app can only be used by Androids, Bleggi said he is also building an Apple version this summer.
He plans on studying computer science at The Ohio State University or Ohio University after graduation and on joining an ROTC program.