Grover Cleveland tech whizzes build mobile applications

More than 40 Grover Cleveland HS seniors are part of a program that will teach them how to develop mobile applications. Photo courtesy Fleishman-Hillard
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The developer of the next hit mobile application may not be a Silicon Valley programmer, but a group of Grover Cleveland High School seniors.

The Ridgewood school, part of the National Foundation of Information Technology, was selected as only one of five schools in the country to be part of a program sponsored by tech giant Lenovo that teaches students how to develop mobile apps.

“To be picked out of 1,400 other schools in the city, to really get this off the ground is quite impressive for our students,” said Grover Cleveland Principal Denise Vittor in a phone interview Friday, three days after the students began the curriculum.

The school was chosen in part because it had the resources to implement the program.

As part of the program, the students will use 30 Android-based ThinkPad tablets and six computers to help them with the app development curriculum.

Vittor said the program, open to seniors with a background in the programming language JAVA, is the talk of the school.

Developing apps is “difficult to do but their up to the task because it’s so interesting,” she said. “Now they get to use their JAVA programming skills and apply it to mobile app technology. They find the relevance to real life so intoxicating. It’s exciting not just to the education world, but the students themselves because of the relevance to their world.”

About 40 students are enrolled in the program and at the end of the school year, the group will market its app to the public.

“This is something that they’re going to put on their résumé,” Vittor said. “It’s a marketable skill in today’s society.”

After they develop the app, the students will present it in Washington, D.C.

Grover Cleveland technology teacher Andrew Woodbridge will be instructing the students.

“It’s a great opportunity for them because they’ll get real-world experience,” Woodbridge said. “So far the kids are excited about this.”

The students are starting the class by doing career research and focusing on what apps will be useful to the industry they are researching.

Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4573.

Posted 12:14 am, February 16, 2012
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