July 11, 2006 Georgia Department of Labor NEWS RELEASE
ATLANTA -- Five Georgia High School/High Tech (HS/HT) students from Dougherty County recently returned from a trip to Seattle and the Microsoft Corporation headquarters in Redmond, Washington.
The students from Westover High School in Albany were Nkenge Major, Ronnie McMillan, Brandon Worthy, Jonathan Taunton and Antwon Trice.
There, the students were recognized as winners in the Microsoft Accessible Computer Program Development Competition, an innovative project designed to reward the students and provide them with a motivational learning experience. The statewide contest is jointly sponsored by Microsoft and the Georgia Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities, Inc., a nonprofit organization committed to Georgia High School/High Tech.
HS/HT is an initiative of the Georgia Department of Labor's Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) program designed to get students with disabilities interested in high tech careers. The students were accompanied by Morris Rainey, a science teacher at Westover High, and Timothy Edwards of Albany Technical College, a mentor specially trained in accessible program design.
Joe Tedesco, executive director of Tech-Able, an assistive technology resource center in Conyers and Cornelius Butler, a HS/HT graduate and president of Butler New Media in Bainbridge, provided overall technical assistance and training to the students.
As a team, these students and advisers planned, designed, and developed a fully functional bug-free Windows-based application related to Logo-Links, a school store housed at Westover that markets and sells specialized items imprinted with the school's mascot and colors.
The team developed an MS Access database using Visual Basics 2005 to make the buying process more accessible. The Logo-Links store items have a picture, description, and price of any selected item available in formats that accommodate those with reading disabilities.
The program allows the user to access information on the products available in alternate formats, add an item to a shopping cart, and ultimately send an email of the items to the store director for processing.
Throughout the competition and on the trip, students applied critical thinking skills, mastered useful computer programming concepts and techniques, deepened their understanding of accessibility and gained personal self-confidence. All will serve them well as they finish high school and move to post secondary education and work.
In addition to a $5,000 grant from Microsoft, funding for the project was provided by the Georgia Department of Labor's VR program, the State Rehabilitation Council, and the Georgia Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities.
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