Dunoon Grammar wins UK awards for fourth year running

A group of pupils from Dunoon Grammar have won at the Apps for Good UK awards 2020 for the fourth year running – beating off stiff competition from schools from across the UK, Portugal and the USA.

epicpen, a smart auto injection pen which contacts emergency services and loved ones if a user is taking an anaphylactic shock, scooped the Future Technologist category at this year’s Apps for Good awards final, which was hosted online due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The S1 team behind epicpen - Ruaridh Mitchell, Jaydon Wallace, Ross Weir and James Cameron – worked hard during lockdown to develop their idea and create a video pitch to judges, as well as a proof of concept prototype using BBC Micro:bits. The team also had to respond to a series of questions from the panel of judges, which was made up of industry experts.

Congratulating the team, Argyll and Bute Council’s Policy Lead for Education, Councillor Yvonne McNeilly, said: “I am over the moon to hear this amazing news. This is the fourth consecutive year that the school has won at these prestigious awards and I couldn’t be prouder. I am continually blown away by the innovative and creative ideas that these young people from Dunoon Grammar come up with, and I have no doubt that they will go far in life. I can’t wait to see what other new concepts they come up with in the years ahead.”

David Mitchell, Head Teacher at Dunoon Grammar said: “We are honoured and delighted to have again won at the Apps for Good UK awards. I am extremely proud of all the pupils concerned. I would like to thank Apps for Good for offering this rich, active and creative learning experience. I would also like to thank the staff in our business and computing department who have supported our young people throughout this innovative and exciting experience, helping the pupils involved to maximise their potential. It is an outstanding achievement considering over 28,000 pupils participate annually.”

S1 pupil Jaydon Wallace, who was part of the winning team, said: “We were delighted to win the Apps for Good Scotland event in Edinburgh earlier this year before lockdown – but hearing we had won the overall UK final was amazing. The standard of entries from across all corners of the UK as well as Portugal and the USA was really high, so it was a really pleasant surprise to hear we had won”.

Paul Gallanagh, Principal Teacher of Business and Computing added: “We were delighted to learn that Team epicpen had scooped the top prize at this year’s finals – particularly with the added challenges of completing the project while in lockdown. Apps for Good brings the best out of our young people and provides a really rich context for them to not only learn about emerging technologies, but to also generate and code their own ideas.”

Congratulations also go to S1 Pupil Alasdair Coy who was runner-up in the Digital Explorers category sponsored by the LEGO group. Alasdair’s innovative idea, Q-PID, was very topical as it was designed to enable people to count the number of shoppers inside a shop, or queuing outside at any one time, to allow users to check whether it is a good time to shop – avoiding the longest queues. The judges were extremely impressed with Alasdair’s idea and although he did not win the category, it was a great achievement to be selected as one of three finalists.

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