A group of Centerville sixth-graders asked city council members to vote for them and to get others to vote for them so they can win a national STEM competition.
Students from Thomson Middle School, located in Centerville, told the council Tuesday that they had already won the best in state award among middle schools for an app concept they came up with to help walkers, runners and cyclists stay safe.
The group created the app concept for the national Verizon Innovative Learning App Challenge. They said they now want to win the contest’s national prize by getting the council — and as many other people as possible — to text the word “RAM” to 22333 on their behalf from mobile devices.
They said only one vote can be submitted from a single device and that votes must be texted by Feb. 14.
Team members said in winning the state title they beat out 1,800 other entries and won $5,000 for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education efforts at Thompson.
It also meant a banner for the school and a tablet device for each of the five-member team comprised of Keilah Miles, Carrington Colquitt, Brooklyn Bohannon, Camden Kopsick and Donovan Duncan.
Team sponsor, sixth-grade science teacher Terra McMillan, said winning a national prize would mean an additional $15,000 toward Thomson’s STEM program, and that the app would actually be development with the help of MIT engineers.
Tonja Simmons, assistant principal at Thomson, said the idea for the student’s app concept came from news reports of a runner being hit by a car in Macon.
The students told council members they are in the top 10 of 100 schools now competing and the event is a “fan favorite” contest based on the number of text votes received.
They said if they win they will own the intellectual property rights to the app.
Simmons said winning will also mean the group will go to the Technology Student Association Conference in Orlando this summer.
Following the presentation, Mayor John Harley commended the students for their efforts and council members expressed to them their pride in their accomplishments.
Several council members pulled out their phones and said they were texting their votes right away and would encourage others to do the same by the Feb. 14 deadline.
The student’s app concept pairs health tracking devices, phones, GPS and automobile navigation systems to track walker, runner and cyclist locations. The name RAM stands for Runners App Management.
In other business Tuesday, the council endorsed what is being called the inaugural calendar of events for Center Park at Centerville, a city park now being created.
The events run from April through October.
Kate Hogan, Centerville’s director of economic development and marketing for the council activities, will kick off April 1 with Everyday Heroes in the Park to honor city police, firefighters and area EMTs. She said other events will include such occasions as ongoing farmers markets, food truck Fridays, popcorn in the park events and other events. She said the park, which is near city hall and the corner of East Church Street and North Houston Lake Boulevard, will also be the location of the city’s Fourth of July celebration and a Trick or Treat party in October.
Park information is at www.facebook.com/CenterParkatCenterville.
One agenda item Tuesday indicated the city might be readying to move toward filling its empty police chief slot — but led nowhere.
The item was termed a “personnel announcement” by Councilman Randall Wright who oversees the city police department.
However, the item received no notice other than to be removed from the agenda during the meeting by council approval by being “tabled indefinitely.”
Outside the meeting, Wright would neither confirm nor deny to The Telegraph that the city was about to hire a new chief, and he would not make any comment about what the agenda item meant.