Chaney students to make and market an app

By Denise Dick


Ten weeks from now, 12 Chaney students will be able to say, “I made an app for that.”

The Young Philanthropist Fund, part of the Youngstown Foundation, presented a $2,000 check Friday morning to Junior Achievement of Mahoning Valley and the Youngstown Business Incubator to implement Youngstown Code Academy at the Chaney Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Campus.

It’s a 10-week after-school program that introduces students to computer coding and the mechanics of starting a business.

Rose Shaffer, project manager for research and communication at YBI, will instruct the academy, which will teach students how the Internet works and how software is developed by building applications, games and websites.

Junior Achievement will provide business education and mentoring and allow students to work through the steps of starting a business.

“This is an exciting time to know these students will join a new generation of makers, not just consumers, of software, and will help shape our digital future,” Michele Merkel, Junior Achievement of Mahoning Valley, said in a news release.

Chaney is a pilot for the program.

Pam Lubich, Chaney’s STEM coordinator, said the 12 student participants were selected from a group of 30 from the information-technology and engineering programs at the school. They’ll meet from 3 to 5 p.m. one day per week for 10 weeks.

YBI and JA approached Doug Hiscox, deputy superintendent of academic affairs, with the idea of bringing Code Academy to Chaney. Hiscox asked Lubich if it’s something the school was interested in.

“We said definitely yes,” Lubich said.

Seniors Jalisa Bowers and Mohammad Mujahed, both 17, and juniors Tonneiqua Shade, 15, and De’Ondre Walker, 16, are among the students chosen for the program.

Tonneiqua said she wanted to participate because she thought it would be good for her career. She wants to be an electrical engineer.

Jalisa, a student in the information-technology program at Chaney, believe the knowledge and skills she would gain through the academy would be useful to her as well.

Mohammad says that although getting the hang of the coding may be challenging at first, he thinks he and his classmates will be able to meet the challenge.

De’Ondre looks forward to learning how to create something that he uses every day.

“I like to use apps, and I’ll get to actually make my own app and share it with the world,” he said.

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