RIDGEWOOD, Queens (WABC) --Students at Grover Cleveland High School of Academy and Information Technology unveiled mobile apps on Thursday that they developed in the classroom.
The project combines computer science with a bit of civic responsibility. All the apps are about Forest Park and Highland Park.
Seven different student groups built apps. New York City Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina was there offering feedback.
"Great way to get students to get students engaged in what they love to do, and make it academic," said Farina.
"She really liked our app, she said she would download it in the future and that made us happy," said 12th-grader Nelson Gonzales. "We were excited that she enjoyed our app, we weren't sure if it was something too many people would be interested in but we were wrong, we actually hit the nail on the head."
It was the birding app of Forest Park that caught her eye. The chancellor also praised the college-ready, career-ready focus.
"One of the top five jobs of the future is developing apps and here we have it in our high school right in the middle of Queens," she said.
"It's difficult but fun at the same time," said 12th-grader Matthew Moliere.
"The hardest part was finding the GPS locations for everything," said 11th-grader Artem Gregoryan.
Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley was there to congratulate students. She originally encouraged students to focus on points of interest in her district from the cemetery to the reservoir to a park tour.
"What better topic than Forest Park, I love Forest Park," said Crowley. "I live a few blocks from here, that entire park is in my district, although there are other council members that use the district because the park is so big. It's 500-plus acres."
11th-grader Calvin Valarcruss says programming the tour app supported his computer science interest. His partner tried to explain - what do you even do to build an app?
"We used app builder with assist drive block. It was a like a jigsaw puzzle for us, we just had to figure out the pieces." said 12th-grader Lucio Tacuri.
Suprisingly, 12th grader Evelyn Torres says app creation can be self taught. For her, it was also a process of self-discovery.
"I look feminine, and that's not something you see in computer science fields that often," said Evelyn. "You think it's a tomboy that has to do it or somebody that looks masculine, they're the most intelligent or guys think they're the most intelligent. But that's not true. Girls can do the same thing guys can do."
Their teacher says the apps go public later this month.
"Download our apps on January 19th in the Google Play store," said Academy of Information and Technology teacher Andrew Woodbridge.
Chancellor Ferina is so impressed with the program, now in its 5th year, she wants to expand it to other city high schools.