Queenstown student’s IT winner

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A Wakatipu High code-writing whizz has designed an electronic system for the daily school notices – and hopes to commercialise it.

Wakatipu High Year 12 student Tommaso Armstrong spent countless out-of-school hours writing thousands of lines of code to create the programme, replacing a daily paper version.

The site, simply called ‘The Notices’, has been live for three months and enables anyone with access to the school’s internal internet to see it via tablet, computer or mobile phone.

Tommaso, who plans to study computer engineering plus a degree in creative intelligence and innovation at the University of Technology Sydney next year, says it allows real-time delivery to end-users, mainly students.

“All staff have permission set up to go and add any notices they want and it gets distributed to all the students immediately.”

Tommaso says flaws in the paper notices – mainly that they could be hard to find if you missed when they were delivered – prompted him to come up with the idea about a year ago.

“Teachers rely on you knowing what’s in the notices but if you missed it or couldn’t find it – they could be hard to find – then it created lots of problems.”

Tommaso did his research, talking to students and teachers plus the principal to see if the idea was possible.

“Then I started coding – the version I’m working on stands at about 4500 lines of code,” he says, adding it’s the third version and he’s still finalising it.

The hardworking teenager says the project was part of his school IT course work but he also hopes to try to sell it once he has the final working version.

“I’ll target schools initially in New Zealand and then Australia next year – but basically it’s for any business where communication between groups and teams needs to be instant.”

So far at Wakatipu High, it’s transformed the daily communication link between all staff and all students: “No one has to format the notices and make sure everyone has a copy.”

Tommaso adds: “Plus it’s environmentally friendly and it costs a lot less.”

Tommaso’s IT teacher Craig Jefferies says his student’s done an awesome job that anyone finishing a tertiary qualification in computing would be proud of.