Milwaukee Public Schools
Press Release

National top 5 win for mobile app created by students at MPS’ Washington HS of IT

Now Washington students need help to be voted fan favorite

By - May 15th, 2015 04:01 am
The winning students and their app. Photo courtesy of MPS.

The winning students and their app. Photo courtesy of MPS.

MILWAUKEE (May 15, 2015) – A group of next-generation information technology entrepreneurs from Milwaukee Public SchoolsWashington High School of IT is one of just five groups from around the country to win the first-ever Lenovo Scholar Network National Competition for the mobile applications they created.

Users of the new “WHS Bowling” app have the chance to aim for strikes and spares at a virtual bowling alley while they receive rotating messages encouraging positive behavior. The messages also discourage bullying and texting while driving.

The top-five win means the students have the chance to win the “Fan Favorite” award. Students are asking the MPS and Milwaukee communities to vote for them by visiting

The national honor also means the school will receive $2,500 to bring the winning students and their app to the National Academy Foundation’s NAF Next conference in July in Anaheim, Calif.

Students Zwannah Khalil, Charles Wallace and Melissa Vernon created the bowling app, which is available for free at the Google Play store.

The students take part in Washington High School of Information Technology’s National Academy Foundation IT Academy, which includes seven IT courses. Students had the opportunity thanks to Washington being one of only 10 U.S. high schools to win a mobile app development program through NAF and Lenovo. As Lenovo Scholar Network participants, students were able to build the app with the help of the “App Inventor” program created by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Washington Principal Tonya Adair congratulated the students and thanked educators Scott Kempen, Sheryl Knox and Earnesteen Ward as well as volunteers from Direct Supply for their support.

“We’re honored that our students were recognized for their work in this contest that connects hands-on classroom learning to real-world opportunities,” Washington Principal Tonya Adair said. “We’re proud of them!”

MPS Superintendent Dr. Darienne Driver joins Principal Adair and the MPS family in congratulating the students.

In addition to the NAF IT Academy, Washington High School of IT also partners with local businesses to provide job-shadowing opportunities and hosts a twice-annual Information Technology and engineering career fair.

Washington students have interned at major local firms including Direct Supply, Northwestern Mutual and MPS’ own technology department. Last summer, more than 50 WHS students were involved in these internships. Recent graduates have gone on to study IT at destinations including Concordia University Wisconsin, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Waukesha County Technical College.

Families interested in learning more about the programs at Washington or enrolling a student can contact counselors at the school at (414) 875-5926 or 875-5927. Families can enroll online for fall at

About Milwaukee Public Schools

Milwaukee Public Schools is committed to accelerating student achievement, building positive relationships between youth and adults and cultivating leadership at all levels. The district’s commitment to improvement continues to show results:

  • More MPS students are meeting reading standards
  • The MPS Class of 2014 earned $31 million in scholarships, up $7 million; and
  • MPS is home to 4 of the state’s top 15 high schools according to U.S. News and World Report

Learn more about MPS by visiting our website. More MPS news is available at

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