Wednesday, December 13, 2017
Education

Jesuit High freshman creates app to connect school community

TAMPA — Only a month into his freshman year at Jesuit High School, Dominic Kynkor sat across from Nick Suszynski, director of development, with a proposal to complete an iPhone app for the school.

"I've never been approached by a freshman who was so confident," Suszynski said with pride.

Dominic knew the school was having trouble creating a mobile app, so he took over.

"Creating apps just sounded interesting and I've always been good with computers," said Dominic, 15.

Using the tools he learned in a programming course he took the previous summer, he worked weekends and late nights to develop an app that would make it easier for students, teachers and alumni to keep in touch with the school community. The app offers school news and activities, as well as admissions information.

"I'm honestly still confused how I did it," he said with a laugh.

Through much reading and researching, he learned advanced programming languages and made the app into what Jesuit needed.

Dominic not only had the school's criteria to follow but Apple's as well. After months of hard work, Apple rejected the first draft, but that was fine with him.

"My favorite thing is the more challenging scenarios."

Dominic tested new ideas based on his experiences as a freshman.

"I had trouble my freshman year because I would get lost on campus, so I thought we could add a map to the app."

Students aren't allowed to use their phones in school, so that idea was thrown out, but the innovation reflects Dominic's creativity and resourcefulness.

He chugged on and filled his nights with caffeine and Apple's Xcode, reporting back to Suszynski.

"It was growing and he was doing it all on his own," Suszynski said. "Now I'm thinking this kid can do anything he wants."

Peter Young, director of communications, also assisted in the project.

"I did extraordinarily little," he laughed. "I was involved in giving direction after he was 90 percent done."

Seven months later, it was finished.

During convocation, the big school announcements where all the students meet in the chapel, the Rev. Richard Hermes, S.J., the school's president, announced the app.

"I had an idea they were going to do something, but I was surprised," Dominic said.

Now, even during summer break, Dominic's app has been downloaded more than 300 times.

"To me it's the most mind-blowing thing I've ever heard about," Young said of the freshman's accomplishment.

"After only being on campus for a month with a vigorous academic schedule and athletics, he still wanted to take on this big project."

Suszynski shared the same amazement and added that Dominic had come to him in the first week of school and said he wanted to make an impact when he left as a senior.

Instead, Dominic made that impact in just his first year.

It appears the success will continue. Dominic attended a two-week programming course at Stanford University this summer.

"I need to backtrack and learn to make websites," he said before leaving for the camp.

Dominic said he also would like to get a team of students together to create an app to help the community.

"I am going to reach out to charities and local businesses."

Comments
Merriam-Webster’s word of the year for 2017 is ‘Feminism’

Merriam-Webster’s word of the year for 2017 is ‘Feminism’

NEW YORK — This may or may not come as a surprise: Merriam-Webster’s word of the year for 2017 is "feminism." Yes, it’s been a big year or two or 100 for the word. In 2017, lookups for feminism increased 70 percent over 2016 on Mer...
Published: 12/12/17
‘It’s like an insane nightmare’: Parents question private company hired to drive special needs kids to school

‘It’s like an insane nightmare’: Parents question private company hired to drive special needs kids to school

RIVERVIEW — As a foster parent with two sons of her own, Kayla Storey has learned all the tricks to get her kids out of bed and off to school every morning. But this year, Storey says she’s the one waking up every school day with a knot i...
Published: 12/08/17
Updated: 12/11/17

University of Central Florida Greeks won’t hold social events, serve alcohol for 6 weeks this spring

ORLANDO — University of Central Florida fraternities and sororities won’t host social activities or any events with drinking for at least the first six weeks of the spring semester, up from the two-week ban on alcohol that has been in place in the pa...
Published: 12/08/17
Amid reports of rapes, beatings, cover-ups, grand jury to probe juvenile justice abuses

Amid reports of rapes, beatings, cover-ups, grand jury to probe juvenile justice abuses

Disturbed by stories about the rape of teens by supervisory staff, a pandemic of sometimes savage force, brutal beatdowns ordered by youth care workers and policies that permit the hiring of violent offenders, Miami-Dade’s state attorney wants to kno...
Published: 12/07/17
Henderson: Some basic facts about Hillsborough’s teacher pay imbroglio

Henderson: Some basic facts about Hillsborough’s teacher pay imbroglio

Hillsborough County’s public school teachers are horn-honking, voice-raising, sign-waving, foot-stomping mad, and I can’t blame them. They are paying for a problem they didn’t create. About one-third of the workforce was expecting to receive a $4,000...
Published: 12/07/17
In Watershed Ambassadors Program, Pasco students learn about natural Florida

In Watershed Ambassadors Program, Pasco students learn about natural Florida

SPRING HILL — On a small wooden dock at the Cross Bar Ranch, Cynthia Brinker gingerly pokes through the trappings in her fishing net, plucking out a tiny creature to examine close up. "What the heck is this?" the Weightman Middle School studen...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/07/17
Crognale named 2018 Hernando Principal of the Year

Crognale named 2018 Hernando Principal of the Year

BROOKSVILLE — For just a year and a half, Steve Crognale has been the principal at the Endeavor and Discovery Academies. But now, he’s been named the Hernando School District Principal of the Year for 2018. Endeavor serves students, most of them hig...
Published: 12/06/17
‘It’s like an insane nightmare’: Parents question private company hired to drive special needs kids to school

‘It’s like an insane nightmare’: Parents question private company hired to drive special needs kids to school

RIVERVIEW — As a foster parent with two sons of her own, Kayla Storey is skilled at calming first-day-of-school jitters. But this school year, Storey says she’s the one waking up every weekday with a knot in her stomach.It’s been there ever since th...
Published: 12/05/17
Updated: 12/11/17
Why do universities handle sexual assault cases, anyway?

Why do universities handle sexual assault cases, anyway?

News stories about campus sexual assault often get the question, "Why do schools handle these cases, anyway?"Readers often wonder how universities got tasked with handling these convoluted cases in the first place. Where, they ask, do the police come...
Published: 12/05/17
Updated: 12/11/17
Hillsborough teachers keep the heat on after $92 bonus offer

Hillsborough teachers keep the heat on after $92 bonus offer

TAMPA — The second Hillsborough County School Board meeting in less than a month took place Tuesday against a backdrop of honking car horns, cheering teachers and audience members moving through the room in shifts.Dressed in blue union-issued T-shirt...
Published: 12/05/17
Updated: 12/06/17