Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Websites, animations and games: 5 cool projects from Philly’s student tech project showcase

Local public school students got advice from industry professionals during the Philly Tech Week event before competing in a state competition.

(L to R) Tony Tran, Xing Wu and Gabriel Cabrera, 12th graders at Northeast High School, created an original horror movie.

(Photo by Will Bleier)

Today’s teens grew up with the internet — and now, they’re also building it.

The next generation of tech professionals got some advice from today’s pros at the 2019 Student Technology Project Showcase, held on Monday at the School District of Philadelphia’s administrative building at 440 N. Broad.

The Philly Tech Week 2019 presented by Comcast event featured presentations from fifth- through 12th-grade student winners of the district’s April science fair, the Philly Technology Exposition and Competition Showcase, who are advancing to the state level, the PA Media and Design Competition, later this month. They talked with technologists about improving their respective animation, programming, coding, digital movie or graphic design entry.

“This is an opportunity they never had before, and that is getting feedback from professionals, giving them a leg up, so that they’re more likely to be successful when they get to the state competition,” said Luke Bilger, the district’s senior project manager. “And also, learning about the different local careers in tech that are here.”

Six middle school and six high school projects are moving on to the state competition. Here are five of our favorites from that night:

Encouraging healthy eating

Matthew Perlman, a seventh-grade student at Penn Alexander School, programmed a computer game that encourages students to make healthy eating choices.

The main character navigates a Super Mario-styled map trying to collect as many apples as possible, losing a life if they hit a doughnut. It took him about a month and a half and this is the first time he made something like it.

“You can be healthy in a fun way,” Perlman said.

Matthew Perlman, a seventh-grade student at Penn Alexander School. (Photo by Will Bleier)

Fighting cyberbullying

Saniyah Parnell and Mayian Pettit, eighth-grade students at Andrew Hamilton School, created an educational video on preventing cyberbullying and interviewed their teachers, administrators and classmates.


“We hope that we give everybody who watches our video … a good message on cyberbullying and how it affects people,” Pettit said.

The video even featured an original cyberbullying rap the young women created over 21 Savage’sa lot.”

(L to R) Mayian Pettit and Saniyah Parnell, eighth-grade students at Andrew Hamilton School. (Photo by Will Bleier)

Making tutoring accessible

Jonathan Mathews, Tom Xaviour and Harrison Findley, 10th graders at George Washington Carver High School of Engineering and Science, showed off their website, Tuber, which they said is like Uber for tutoring.

Tuber allows for schools to create a space where students can get their homework questions fielded by their teachers or approved peers, and where students can schedule tutoring sessions with either if they need extra help.

“We all do a lot of extracurricular things, so it’s hard for us to get help in specific subjects,” Mathews said.

Jonathan Mathews, a 10th grader at George Washington Carver High School of Engineering and Science. (Photo by Will Bleier)

Sharing a love of music

Caleb Montross, Zayne Holland and Eynder Reid-Monahon, eighth graders at William M. Meredith Elementary School, created an animation and synched it to original music.

Holland and Reid-Monahan drew the scenes by hand and uploaded them into iMovie, where it was tailored to align with Montross’ music.

When asked if he played an instrument, Montross answered humbly: “I dabble in piano.”

(L to R) Caleb Montross, Eynder Reid-Monahon and Zayne Holland, eighth graders at William M. Meredith Elementary School. (Photo by Will Bleier(

Spreading alcohol awareness

Mercer Buckner, a twelfth grader at Northeast High School, designed a website to show people the effects alcohol can have on the body and on those around you.

The website has multiple tabs from the history of alcohol regulation in America, to signs someone might have a problem with it.

“The meaning of the project for me was to help people understand what they’re really doing,” Buckner said. She was inspired to create the project after people she knew struggled with irresponsible alcohol use.

The student teams will advance to the PA Media and Design Competition at Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pa. on May 21 and 22. The school district will fund their cost of attending the competition.

Mercer Buckner, a 12th grader at Northeast High School. (Photo by Will Bleier(

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