Showing posts with label senior. Show all posts
Showing posts with label senior. Show all posts

Friday, May 17, 2024

WHS senior places third in Maine App Challenge

By Kaysa Jalbert

Creativity was on full display in this year’s Maine App Challenge as a Windham High School senior, Alex Pooler, placed third among participants, winning a $1,000 scholarship from Tyler Technologies.

Matt Jones, software engineering manager for Tyler
Technologies, left, and Chris Webster, president of
Tyler Technologies' ERP & Civic Division, right, 
congratulate Alex Pooler of Windham High School
for placing third in the annual Maine App Challenge
for students. Pooler earned a check for $1,000 for his
app called Good Morning Class, an interactive
check-in app for elementary teachers and students.
Pooler designed an app that makes it quick and easy for educators to assess a student’s well-being. He created the app called Good Morning Class, an interactive check-in app for elementary school teachers and students.

He says that he started working on his app idea in fall of 2022. One day at the start of his junior year, he was talking with a primary school teacher, Mrs. Farrin, who thought it would be a good idea to design an app to make it easier for teachers to check-in on their students.

"Last year I developed Good Morning Class using MIT App Inventor, a block-based coding program,” said Pooler. He first developed a prototype for the app and then tested it with the help of Mrs. Farrin. After testing, he revised the app to better fit her classes.

“This year, I developed version two in Python, a coding language, and Kivy, a graphical framework. This was a major improvement and difficulty, as I was still learning both languages,” says Pooler.

Mrs. Farrin would use a Google survey to check in with her students. Although it is a survey program, its design is not specific to an elementary classroom, leaving room for user error and confusion.

Pooler said that he wanted to make life a little easier for teachers and students through his creation and thought it would be a nice project for his high school Capstone.

Jennifer Pooler, Alex’s mother said her son has always been creative.

“Alex has been making games since he was very young, board games, card games, which eventually led to his interest in making video games,” she said. “I don't think Alex thought too much about developing apps until Mrs. Farrin suggested he explore that for his Capstone project, but it aligned well with his interests.”

Prior to working on his Good Morning Class app, Pooler says he had never developed an app before.

“In my sophomore year I took a computer science class, but most of what I learned was on the fly,” said Pooler. “In between last year’s submission and this year’s, I took an online computer science class.”

After high school, Pooler will be studying Game Design and Development at Rochester Institute of Technology.

“I can't wait to hear about and hopefully see the projects Alex works on at RIT and after,” Jennifer Pooler said. “My hope is that he'll build a solid foundation at college to be successful in developing video games or apps or whatever he decides to create.”

In addition to the scholarships, the top 10 finalists of the Maine App Challenge also received Beats Headphones and are granted a guaranteed internship interview at Tyler Technologies.

“I was very excited for Alex to win third place in the Maine App Challenge,” Jennifer Pooler said. “I was already so proud of him for putting in months of work to see it through, but I have to say it was really special to see him recognized by Tyler Technologies for all of the effort.”

The Maine App Challenge is a contest hosted annually by Tyler Technologies Inc., a Plano, Texas-based provider of software and technology services with around 1,200 employees in Maine. Each year, students develop their own mobile software programs that introduce them to science, technology, engineering, and math, also known by the acronym STEM.

Prior to the contest, Tyler Technologies collaborates with the Foster Center for Innovation at the University of Maine to host a series of free workshops for students to help with brainstorming, prototyping, and testing their applications. According to its website, Tyler Technologies also partners with the University of Maine on a Fundamentals of Innovation course available online to high school students as an early college course that allows them to earn college credits while designing an app submission for the Maine App Challenge.

Since its inception, the Maine App Challenge has gifted more than $100,000 in 529 college savings plans to students in Maine. <

Friday, November 4, 2022

Windham High School student captures 'USOA Miss Teen Maine' crown

By Ed Pierce

A Windham High School senior has won the 2023 United States of America Miss Teen Maine Pageant and will represent the state at the USOA National Pageant in Nevada next spring. Morgan Wing of Windham, 17, was awarded the teen crown and title Oct. 9 during the USOA Maine Pageant at the Senator Inn in Augusta.

Morgan Wing, 17, a senior at Windham High School, has
been crowned as 2023 USOA Miss Teen Maine. She will
represent Maine in the National USOA Miss Teen Pageant
in Las Vegas, Nevada in April. SUBMITTED PHOTO  
Wing had been crowned USOA Teen Windham in April and she also was honored with the People’s Choice Award during the state pageant in Augusta, which allows her to donate $3,000 to her charity of choice, Project Sparrow, which aligns with her interest and commitment to helping kids in foster care. During the state pageant, Wing also received the Congeniality Award, as voted on by the other contestants in her division as the contestant who best embodies the spirit of the pageant.

During the pageant, judges were impressed with Wing’s deep level of involvement in the community and her platform idea of something called a “Journey Bag” which provides backpacks or duffle bags filled with essentials such as toothbrush toothpaste, deodorant and other personal hygiene items for children entering the DHHS Child Protective Services foster care system.

“My hope is to provide some comfort in a time that is scary and out of their control,” Wing said. “These kids often are placed in foster care with nothing but the clothes on their back and the ‘Journey Bag’ gives them something that is theirs to keep, no matter where their journey takes them.”

Pageant judges also praised Wing’s volunteer work for the Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland, Honor Flight Maine, the Windham Summerfest Parade, and the Dempsey Challenge, among many opportunities that she has demonstrated her dedication and commitment to worthy community causes.

She is the daughter of Melissa and Andrew Johnston of Windham and Mike and Lindsay Wing of Englewood, Florida. She has two younger brothers named Everett and Liam and is hoping to attend cosmetology school at the Paul Mitchell School of Hair in Manchester, New Hampshire following graduation from high school and become a hair color specialist.

According to Wing, she first became interested in the USOA pageant because her aunt, Nykki Stevens, was also a participant in a different division. She encouraged her to move out of her comfort zone and says that it has allowed her to become more involved in her community and to create an incredible platform that she is very proud of.

Along with Stevens, Wing says that her role models are parents because they are hard-working individuals who are always willing to help others and give back and have always provided a safe loving home for her brothers and her while working together to not only provide for her but to show her incredible love and support.”

She said that her family is her biggest support, and she cannot thank them enough for helping her become the 2023 USOA Miss Teen Maine.

In all, it has taken her almost a full year of attending many workshops and participating in community events to prepare for the USOA competition.

During the state pageant, she competed in three categories with the first being a personal interview where she sat with three judges individually and answered their questions. The second category was athletic wear, and the final category was the evening gown competition, in which she wore a coral pink floor-length Sherri Hill Gown from Grayce Bridal in Portland.

At Windham High School, Wing has been on the Honor Roll from her freshman through her junior years. She’s a member of the WHS National Honor Society and the WHS Spanish National Honor Society.

When not volunteering or in school, Wing enjoys reading, cosmetology, word search puzzles and time spent as an assistant director of a children’s theater group.

Wing and her family are now in the process of raising money so she can compete in the National USOA Teen Pageant in April 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. She’s also seeking local sponsors to help with the cost of wardrobe and other essentials such as hair, make-up and clothing items at the National Pageant.

Anyone interested in donating or serving as a sponsor is asked to send an email to

You can also follow her journey and reign as 2023 Miss USOA Maine Teen on Facebook or Instagram at USOA MAINE TEEN. <