AWS GetIT is a national competition organised by Amazon Web Services to encourage girls aged 12 – 13 (year 8) to consider a career in technology (boys may also take part, but teams must have a female majority). We are delighted to announce that the team from St James Academy Dudley were crowned the overall winners of this year’s competition.
Dudley Academies Trust introduced the competition for the first time this year as an extra-curricular activity delivered by the Computer Science departments in all four of their secondary schools. The competition brief was simple; design an app that addresses an issue that exists within school or the local community.
The team from St James Academy, made up of Jaishmeet, Sara, Roha, Adiele, McKayla and Rhys, started their AWS GetIT journey in October. They continued to work on their app idea into the Spring term – most of which was completed online. Their final app idea, called New You (stylised as ‘NuU’) focuses on mental health, pairing people who may be struggling with a mental health issue with people who are confident to offer guidance and support. ‘Support seekers’, the app users who are looking for help, are eventually given the option to convert to become ‘support buddies’ so they too can offer help and support to others who have similar issues.
The team were supported throughout the competition by their ambassador from AWS, Niki Ward. She offered feedback to the team before their final entry, which the team acted upon before submitting their app idea to AWS. From this, the team were announced as part of the top ten entries in the country and had to present their app idea live to judges from around the world.
After the presentation, St James Academy were revealed as one of the teams who had made it to the top two entries nationally. Nervously, the team presented their app idea one last time at the final against Philomena's Catholic High School for Girls, where St James Academy were ultimately crowned overall competition winners.
Global leader at AWS, Ceclie Bonnet, wrote to the team to congratulate them, “I wanted to personally congratulate you all for the work you did on the NuU app. You touched an area that is very important, mental health. Providing people of all ages support on this topic has been so necessary, especially over the past year, and your app concept was truly innovative.”
Niki Ward, the team’s ambassador was also delighted with the win, writing; “Well Done! And thank you so much for your support. Feeling very humbled and excited for what’s to come for all of the members of your team!”
The team were overwhelmed by their victory, graciously taking time to congratulate the other teams who made it to the top ten, particularly the competition runners up, Philomena's Catholic High School for Girls.
All learners who participated in the competition have learnt so much, and not just about technology. Resilience, confidence and presentation skills have all been developed at every step of the way. Dudley Academies Trust now hope to build on this victory when the competition window opens again in the Autumn term.