Six 13 year old students from The Bronx who attend the Bronx Academy of Promise edged out 350 other teams across the country for a chance to create a math app in a contest sponsored by Verizon. Now these industrious Bronx children have an increased thirst for the STEM field (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) where people of color make up less than 10% of the workforce in this industry and they will also be featured in a Verizon ad that will run all month long for Black History Month.
NBC New York said:
During a month in which schools around the country will open their textbooks to explore the lives of the first black inventors, scientists, or astronauts, there are six black and brown students who are turning the page, making a bit of history of their own.
These kids from the Bronx beat out more than 350 other teams across the country to create their own math app for Google Play. The competition,backed by Verizon, encouraged students to learn computer code and develop applications for mobile devices.
Their competition came from wealthier schools and whiter districts, but it was the work of 13-year-olds Rokiatou “Rokia” Sissoko, Michael Bonnah, Samuel Owusu, Sherly Quezada, Jhony Flores and King Lewis that prevailed above all.
“I was overwhelmed because I doubted that we would win. It was a long run,” Rokia said. “And when I found out that we won, I was happy because all of the work that we did – staying after school, coming to school early.”
For their efforts, the students were awarded Samsung Galaxy Tablets and the Bronx Academy of Promise won $20,000 dollars. The students also star in a Verizon campaign that will run all month, in which they make a good point, “We can’t sit back and watch history, we have to create it.”
Rokia, Michael, Samuel, Sherly, Jhony and King were all mostly 11, attending Bronx Academy of Promise Charter School in New York City, when they started their journey of learning code and creating their app, QuestMath for the competition back in 2012.
The six of them were part of a Greek Mythology club at the school that they helped create. Selected by a teacher to participate in the app-making competition, the sextuplet combined their fascination of the stories of Zeus and Perseus with their love for math, engineering an app meant to help both children and adults brush up on their computation skills.
We couldn’t be prouder of our own kids!