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Berry Middle School? There's an App for That

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26-Aug-2011 (BMS) – For Ozair Patel – creating a website is nothing. The same goes for creating forums, editing movies and repairing smartphones.

His latest accomplishment, however, has the official stamp of approval from Apple™. Ozair has created his own “App” designed just for Berry Middle School.

“Over the summer, my mom and I were talking about how I could improve for 8th grade. We talked about how easy it was for me to lose papers and things sent home from school,” Ozair said.

For Ozair, a solution to the paper problem came quickly.

“I can create an app,” he told his mother.

The thirteen-year-old then began his two-month journey of creating Berry School Mate, the official Apple™ Application for Berry Middle School. Free and easily found in the iPhone App Store, Berry School Mate offers the function of viewing school calendars, teacher contact information, homework assignments and much more.

“I thought most of it (assembling the app) was just easy. But some steps were hard to understand. After a few days of programming it became easy,” Ozair said.

So how does a 13-year-old construct an app for the iPhone from scratch? Well it helps if your dad is a Chief Technology Officer (CTO) for a local software company.

“The way I teach is people have to work on their own,” Dr. Maqbool Patel, Ozair’s father, said. “I can only guide them.”

That guidance began after some initial resistance. Upon hearing his son’s plans, Dr. Patel told Ozair the process of creating an app was complicated. There are the complexities of x-code, computer programming and debugging. But, Ozair persisted and work on the app soon got underway. Dr. Patel was quickly impressed at his son’s work.

“My wife has already checked this app so many times. All of it is there for her. It’s easy and intuitive. It is very helpful for when parents want to communicate with the teacher,” Dr. Patel said.

Berry School Mate continues to gain traction. Tracking already shows scores of downloads in its brief existence.

Angela Mangina, Berry Middle School 8th grade/high school computer apps teacher, considers Ozair a huge asset to her instruction this year. Already, his creation has spawned the idea of an after-school “App Club” to be hosted by Mangina and guided – in part – by Ozair and his father.

“I’m luckier to have Ozair than he is to have me,” Mangina said. “He and students like him have an enthusiasm and can-do spirit which inspire.”

Still in its infancy, Ozair has big plans for Berry School Mate. After all, he’s got the drive, know-how and even his own business license (Ozair Mobile Media, Inc.). He’s already been approached by other school systems for app development and plans on developing game-themed apps, too (think “Angry Birds”™). As for his parting advice to others looking to follow in his footsteps - he has one word: "Patience."

-Jason Gaston/HCS Public Relations

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