PCHS Students First Place Winners for West Virginia in “Verizon Innovative Learning App Challenge”

Representatives of Verizon came to a very special student assembly at Pocahontas County High School on January 20th. Five students, all from the school’s Stem Club, won first place among all West Virginia entries in the “Verizon Innovative Learning App Challenge.” They are: Noah Barkley; Elijah Robertson; Jacob Jones; Mathias Soliday; and Logan Woodruff.

Laurel Dilley was the lead faculty advisor.  Jenifer Nail, Ray Kreger from the Green Bank Observatory, Cammy Kesterson and others also provided guidance and assistance as well. Each student, plus Teacher Dilley, received a Verizon Tablet and other stuff and because of their efforts and PCHS received a check from Verizon for $5000.00 to help with their STEM program.

Teacher Jennifer Nail explains more about this contest.

“The challenge was to design an app that would benefit your community” Jennifer explained. “so they had to design their app and then create a video explaining what it would do and showing some screens that the app would have. And then they had to answer several essay questions talking about how it would benefit the community and why it was necessary. It’s so important, especially here where flooding is such a concern. It was really nice that the boys picked something so pertinent to our community. They did it all on their own time, which I think is the most outstanding thing. They did it all by themselves.

If you win the National contest, they pick so many apps that they are going to create, and then programmers from Verizon will actually do all the coding for the app. So I certainly hope that they will move on enough so that their app will be created.”

You can help them achieve this by sending a text to “FLOODPRO22333” – that’s all CAPITAL LETTERS – to vote for this app.

Let’s hear from each of the five winning students. First up is Mathias Soliday.

“Winning this award is a big deal, it’s just crazy” Soliday said. “Eighteen hundred groups submitted their app idea in the State of West Virginia and we ended up winning first place. West Virginia suffered a lot of floods during the summer and we knew people who went through floods. I had to dig out someone’s basement. People died during those floods and we thought this app could help save people – save lives. That is important to us and why we created this app –to just help people.”

“I’m Logan Woodruff and we got into this competition because we heard about it from our Math Teacher, Miss Dilley, she told us about this nationwide competition  where you create an app” Logan said.” Me and some of my friends thought it was pretty cool and we eventually we came up with an app that helps protect people affected by flooding across America. It is really exciting that they chose us out of 1800 entries in the State. We checked out our percentages, like a .055% chance of winning something like this, so it’s an honor, it’s pretty cool.”

Jacob Jones.

“Miss Dilley said it was a good idea for us to make an app, like in an app challenge” Jacob said. “so my friends and I, we decided might as well get some extra credit, have some fun with it. We did it and it was pretty fun like once we got into it, making the app, making the video and having the different features to it, and out of all the chances we had of winning it, we’re like yea, it’s a good experience to do it and seems pretty nice to do. It was amazing to find out we won because all this adrenalin went through me and like this is awesome and like I think in West Virginia it was like one out of eighteen hundred teams. It was pretty fun.”

Noah Barkley

“Our app is to help get out to others about all the tragic activities that has happened the previous summer with the floods” said Noah. “So we designed this app to send out alerts to people so that hopefully we won’t have the tragedies that we had last summer. It feels great to win. We never even dreamed about winning this and getting so far. It just feels great and is such a huge honor to be the winner of our State out of 1800 contestants.”

“I’m Elijah Robertson and I feel great about winning it because it’s like a really great feeling knowing we are pretty much state champions because we won it in the State” said Elijah. “We made this app to protect people from floods because a devastating flood happened this summer and killed some people in West Virginia, and it seems like it would help out our community a lot.”

Congratulations to these students and their teachers.


Story By

Tim Walker

Tim is the WVMR News Reporter. Tim is a native of Maryland who started coming to Pocahontas County in the 1970’s as a caver. He bought land on Droop Mountain off Jacox Road in 1976 and built a small house there in the early 80’s. While still working in Maryland, Tim spent much time at his place which is located on the Friars Hole Cave Preserve. Retiring in 2011 as a Lieutenant with the Anne Arundel County Police Department in Maryland, Tim finally took the plunge and moved from Maryland to his real home on Droop Mountain. He began working as the Pocahontas County Reporter for Allegheny Mountain Radio in January of 2015.

Current Weather