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  • Gabriel Kraemer

Walls Programming Club Awarded $6,500 in National Competition

The Walls Programming Club qualified as a state winner in Samsung’s 2022 Solve for Tomorrow national competition in January for their proposal to develop a Metro trip-planning app, and will receive a $6,500 award from the electronics company later this month.

In the annual competition, Samsung selects state winners from 100 public schools across the United States that “consider how science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) can be used to create change in their communities,” according to the competition’s website. The company says each state winner “compete[s] to win up to $100,000 in prizes for their school, plus the opportunity to work with Samsung employees to develop their prototypes.”

Samsung will award $50,000 to 10 national finalist schools, selected from the state winners, and $100,000 to three national winners from the national finalists.

D.C. International School was also selected as a District state winner.

Mark Martinez, a senior and the vice president of Programming Club, says the Walls Programming Club plans to develop “a Metro app, tentatively called MetroSnap, that utilizes user reporting of things like delays to map out your trip and create accurate trip time estimates.”

Martinez highlighted the lack of “infrastructure for programming” at Walls when asked how the club would spend the initial $6,500 award. “We don’t [currently] have the equipment for every member to have a device and the appropriate software to fully participate,” he said. “Probably a very large portion [of the award] would go to buld[ing] a generational dynasty of programmers at the school.”

Martinez said the club is planning an initial release or beta version of the app by Feb. 22 ahead of a required “video presentation” of their app for Samsung to evaluate by March 2. “If they like our video, we will be selected as a national finalist,” he said.

“We all worked very hard on our [competition] submission and I was very proud of our effort,” Martinez said. “Hearing that we were state champions was an incredible moment for all of us involved.”

Martinez said that he is hopeful for further success in the competition. “We have the chance to accomplish something really spectacular,” he said. “I know that with the group we have it is definitely within our reach.”

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