Zach has always had an affinity for technology and making ideas come to life. He developed an app for HCC students when he was in Grade 7 called “Day to Day Homework,” which compiled homework by teams and made it available to all students who uploaded the free app. “The feeling that people were using my app and benefiting from it felt amazing,” Zach said.
The app received 400 downloads over two years, at a time when apps were not as prevalent as they are today. The praise he received from then HCC Principal, Dr. Powderly, gave him the confidence to continue looking for ways to help others, through coding and app design.
Upon arrival at the high school, Zach began working with Ms. Marna Weiss, his Web Design teacher, on a new idea that would help the entire student body. That idea evolved over time into the My Bobcat app. Zach loved working on the technical aspects of the app and sought the help of others for the layout and practical components. “When people asked for a specific feature, I always tried my best to give it to them,” Zach said.
The app launched on May 10, 2017, and was an immediate success with over 1,128 downloads. My Bobcat can be downloaded from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store. Ansh Arvati, a Byram Hills freshman said, “The My Bobcat app is an amazing tool that I rely on every day. Whether it's writing my homework down, checking my GPA or most importantly seeing when my next class begins, I depend on My Bobcat."
“Given almost every student at BHHS has this app, Zach really created a window for us to showcase student programming at Byram Hills. Students can enjoy innovative content created by their peers,” said Brian Melso, Byram Hills District Communication Strategist.
Zach has received a tremendous amount of support from BHHS Principal, Mr. Walsh, and the high school administration. They have My Bobcat running on monitors outside the main office and in the cafeteria. “The My Bobcat app is a perfect example of the types of authentic assessments we value,” said Mr. Walsh. “It demonstrates his understanding of the topic while having a positive impact on the community.” Students and faculty use it as a resource and some parents have even installed it on their phones.
Zach always has multiple projects in the pipeline. Currently, he is working on a new addition to My Bobcat, which is geared toward helping freshmen better understand their schedules. He said, “When I’m passionate about something, it becomes my complete focus.”