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Mallard Creek team repeats as Lenovo national app winner

A Mallard Creek High team has earned its second consecutive win in the Lenovo Scholar Network National Mobile App Development Competition. The team's app, WobbleByte, was selected as one of the five best apps in the country from among 84 entries.

WobbleByte was created by Aryan Chakalakal, Aron Gebreegziabher, Avi Patel and Siddarth Pennetsa, members of the Mallard Creek High Cybersecurity Club. The after-school club, which includes Girls Who Code, provides students with an opportunity to showcase their computer science and engineering knowledge beyond the classroom, said Marques Hazell, a Career and Technical Education (CTE) teacher, who advises the group with fellow CTE teacher Lew Davidson.

"I am so proud of them – they worked so hard for this opportunity," Hazell said. "This has been their goal since September. They didn't do it for the prize but for the fact that they could win, and they did."

Last year, the team won with Cryptoshake 2.0, a password management app that helps users avoid being hacked by instantly generating and saving a secure, random password. The students built on that success, creating a new and improved version, using the MIT App Inventor program. In addition to deterring password stealing, WobbleByte also stores passwords, has a voice recognition search feature and password tester, and an information site on how to avoid cybersecurity issues.

The eighth annual competition was sponsored by Lenovo, a global technology company, and NAF to encourage interest and offer high-tech skills in the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). NAF is a national network of education, business and community leaders that sponsors hundreds of NAF academies where STEM and career-relevant curricula are integrated with work-based learning experiences in growing industries.

Mallard Creek is the only school in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools to win the Lenovo competition and the second school to win from North Carolina. Two of this year's winning entries came from Enloe High in Raleigh with the other two from Clarence High in Clarence, N.Y.

The team will be recognized at the NAF Next 2022 conference in Dallas July 10-13. Voting also is being held here for this year's Fan Favorite until 9 p.m. July 12. The winner will be announced at the conference July 13.

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