Guthrie presents students with third place overall app winners

July 1, 2022 | 12:06 am

Updated June 30, 2022 | 9:14 pm

Photo by Josh Kelly

Rep. Brett Guthrie presented certificates Tuesday to the team of four recent Daviess County Public Schools graduates who won third place overall in 2021 Congressional App Challenge.

The team includes Alli Burgan (Daviess County High School) along with Kyla Thomson, Matisse Dalton and Braxton Powers (Apollo High School). Each member contributed to different factors of the app from the graphic design to the audio.

Their app, Vocal, aids in verbal communication whether it be because of a speech impediment, speech disorders or language barriers.

The app uses augmentative and alternative communication (AAC), and the developers said they addressed things other AAC apps lack. They said that some apps don’t allow the user to customize with personalized pictures or audio recordings.

“Many also lack diversity of words, making them impractical for daily use, and the ones that do contain a diverse word choice typically have choppy, robotic voices that are hard to understand,” Thomson said.

The app was developed with Andriod Studio and will be published to the Google Play store.

The idea came when Power’s talked to his mother who works in speech pathology and he heard about the difficulty people with speech disorders have while utilizing the apps currently on the market. One of the crucial details for Thomson was that the app not be a human and robotic conversation but instead a human-to-human conversation. 

Under the aid of teacher Jonathan Leohr, the group took their own control. Leohr said that oftentimes while watching students work in groups, there typically is one students that takes the lead but this group split the responsibility and leads evenly.

“I’m kind of thrilled to death that they get to be honored in this way and I just really look forward to seeing what they’re going to do with the rest of their lives,” Leohr said.

Guthrie said that moments like these are important because it brings out the unique talents of the people in the communities he serves.

“Everybody has different and unique talents,” he said. “We try to find a way to tap into it when they’re young, and then a way to demonstrate it so they can let people know.”

July 1, 2022 | 12:06 am

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