BIC EAST team wins Girls of Promise Tech for Good

Tuesday, May 15, 2018
Lizette Vasquez and Amber Castanon explaining their ESL Project to Governor Hutchinson. (photos provided) 

Buffalo Island EAST students recently won the Girls of Promise Tech for Good, sponsored by the Women's Foundation of Arkansas.

The competition was open to female students in grades 6-12.

BIC EAST Facilitator Jill Sanders said entries had to be a technology project for a community partner.

Tech for Good finalists meet with Governor Asa Hutchinson. 

“That is right in line with the mission of EAST,” Sanders said. “I was excited when we got the news our BIC team was in the five finalists.”

Finalist teams were required to present their project.

“The girls only had a few days to prepare,” Sanders said. “We got the news we were finalists on Monday and had to be in Little Rock to present on Thursday. We thought we would be presenting in front of a few judges. Then we were informed the team would be making their presentation in front of 250 eighth grade girls attending the Girls of Promise Conference. The girls would be choosing the top winner. Not only did the team as a whole do an excellent job creating the augmented reality app, they did an outstanding job of presenting their project, English as a Second Language.”

Team members include Lizette Vasquez, Gabriela Contreras, Makayla Cole and Amber Castanon.

The team created a Google slide presentation with over 400 slides. The simple lesson plans are designed to teach the English language to all ages. Using the HP Reveal, the team attached pictures with words using the audio translation with the words in English and Spanish. They incorporated all learning styles.

The project became personal for the team.

“Some of our students do not speak English,” team member and one of the presenters Lizette Vasquez, said. “We have four students who moved into our district would could not speak English. I realized how difficult it would be to not be able to communicate with classmates.”

BIC Elementary student learning to use the app.

During Lizette's presentation she starting speaking Spanish and got the audience's attention and then began demonstrating their program.

Other team members include Makayla Cole, Gabriela Contreras and Amber Castanon.

Amber also joined Lizette in the presentation.

The team members said other EAST students did a lot of work behind the scenes helping with the translation of words/pictures onto the slide presentations.

“We would love to share the slide presentation and allow others to use it,” Sanders said. “If anyone is interested in using this simple program to learn we would be glad to offer it. I plan on using the program to learn Spanish.”

Anyone interested in the program they can email Ms. Sanders at jill.sanders@bicschools.net.

Lizette commented it was a great finish for her senior year.

“We were thought we might win a trophy or receive a certificate but the prizes we received were unbelievable,” she said.

All four team members received a laptop, Fit Bit watches, $200 scholarship, Best Buy gift card, and an anti virus program.

The four team members are all getting ready to go to college and the laptops will be much utilized.

In addition to the competition, the presenters got to meet with Governor Asa Hutchinson and tour the State Capitol.

Sanders said she is proud of her students and the opportunities the EAST Initiative has provided since it was implemented at BIC High School.

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