Joe Walker Middle School Students Develop App for Asthmatics

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QUARTZ HILL, Calif. - A recent UCLA study gave LA County a "C" grade when it comes to air quality, and with low air quality comes respiratory illnesses, including asthma. Students at Joe Walker Middle School found a way to fight against asthma just by using a cellphone.

“I just like the feeling of helping people in the community and our school,” said 7th grade student Michaela Difatta.

Difatta is one of six students at Joe Walker Middle School that worked to create the Stand By Me app, all to help kids suffering from asthma.

“We made an app concept to help the asthmatics at the school because one out of six kids have asthma,” said 8th grade student Kassidy Bear.

The concept is a tracking app that helps students note when they’re going to have an attack and their symptoms by monitoring the environment and certain allergens.

“We had to write an 800 word essay and we had to make a couple minute long video to submit to judges,” said Bear.

Their work was all part of the Verizon App Challenge, where the students won best in state as well as best in the pacific region in the middle school category. But their app catered to a growing problem here in the valley.

“We’re sandwiched between LA and the San Joaquin Valley and the particulates in our area show that our hospitalization and emergency room stats are way up for Southern California,” said Joe Walker Middle School teacher Virginia Irvin.

For Irvin, it was a chance to get her students to think creatively.

“Preparing students for college and career is our job and apps are part of college and career. Back in the old day, it was learning how to type. Now, we need to be preparing our kids to be able to develop, think outside the box, think critically, and be able to prepare and perform on these new platforms,” said Irvin.

The students worked on top of their normal school schedule for months to create the concept. Now they hope it comes to fruition.

“It was really fun to make but I really do want it to thrive and see people actually use it,” said Difatta.

Having this idea become an actual app might become a reality. High Desert Medical Group has expressed interest in creating the Stand By Me app.


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