North Royalton High School students Varuni Chopra, Jashhhvanth (Jashu) Tamilselvan Kunthavia, Arin Mehta and Pankti Mehta participated in Ohio RITE’s CoolTech competition, creating tech-focused solutions to real-world problems. The competition was held at Hyland Software on April 12.
Ohio RITE is an organization that supports the development of a diverse and skilled IT workforce by mobilizing employers and optimizing regional efforts. Its CoolTech competition was created for students in grades 9-12 to create an impactful technology solution while competing for a monetary prize to support college expenses and technology interests.
The competition is broken down into three categories: design a concept for an app or website, build a functional app, or build a functional website.
Varuni’s project was a nonprofit business she runs called “Bridge the Gap,” in which people help senior citizens improve their technological skills. This not only includes online communication but technology basics, internet safety and navigating library resources as well as Google Suite.
Jashu built an app called “NoRo Hackers” taking third place among 72 projects in his category earning a $300 prize.
Last year, the competition was virtual and Jashu took second place while Varuni took third. Varuni also was one of three projects that tied for a people’s choice award.
According to the CoolTech Challenge rules, “All submissions are evaluated by industry professionals who choose the winning projects based on project effectiveness, impact, use of technology, creativity, presentation, aesthetics and project management.”
Judges are recruited from Northeast Ohio employers and have expertise in web and app design.
Arin and Pankti designed a concept for a website/app called “Humanity Helper” in 2019 and won Rep. Anthony Gonzalez’s Congressional App Challenge in Ohio’s 16th district. The creation helped users locate community service opportunities in their community.
They won the challenge again in 2020 with their app “Uniglobe,” which encourages people around the world to embrace diversity and other cultures by learning facts about geographical regions of the globe.
The CoolTech challenge benefits go beyond creating a useful innovation. The overall goals for students are to cultivate tech creativity, manage a project from start to finish, and practice pitching an entrepreneurial idea to a professional audience.