Most people, especially kids, waste a lot of time on their phones, aimlessly scrolling through things that allow them to continue to procrastinate on work.
However, for one BHS student, working on his phone is precisely that – his work.
Brookings High School junior Samyok Nepal has created a free app – available for both iPhone and Android systems – called “Bobcat Notify.” It allows students and other users direct access to urgent notifications sent out by the Brookings School District as well as a continuously updating district event calendar.
“I made it for snow notifications mostly. So, when there’s a snow day, students don’t get snow day notification, or like, we don’t get any sort of alert at all, and our parents do. But if my parents aren’t home and they get the snow day notifications, or if they already left for the day without telling me there’s a snow day, then I don’t want to wake up panicked wondering if there’s a snow day,” Nepal said.
Nepal originally created a program that would send out text message alerts whenever there was a snow day. But soon after creating the program, the amount of people wanting to use it became too expensive and was too inefficient to use.
However, Nepal saw the need for something for students to use – seeing how there were “several hundred people” wanting to get the updates – so that’s when he decided to create a phone app.
“Because Apple won’t accept apps with just one feature, I had to add other features on. So I just started asking my friends like, ‘Hey, what’s something that would be useful in an app like this?’ So, I added a calendar with all of the activities on there,” Nepal said.
He has also worked on putting in many of the band-related rehearsals in the calendar as well. He said the calendar doesn’t just help students organize their time for homework, but to also find out when exactly friend groups can hang out together.
Nepal paid for the license to create the application, but still chose to keep the app free of charge. Nepal joked that he wouldn’t make much of a profit because his clientele is mostly “poor high school students.”
Plus, Nepal quite simply enjoyed the process of creating the app; he’s been a mostly self-taught computer programmer since he was in the fourth grade. Nepal has already made and sold several professional-grade websites to various companies.
He got into the programming profession because he “didn’t want an actual job” because he prefers the flexible hours that programming allows one to have. Nepal said he is able to get up and go to school and finish his homework and then continue late into the evenings working on programs. Nepal is considering a future of continuing his programming career.
“I really enjoyed making the app, and want to go into app design,” he said.
The app has been available for download for the past month, Nepal said.
“Within the first week (of the app going live), I got like 500 downloads,” Nepal said.
This caught the Brookings High School administrators’ attentions. Nepal is now working with the BHS administrators on making “Bobcat Notify” the official app for the school. The goal is to make the app more readily available to all students who have a smartphone as well as all parents, staff and faculty.
The administration is also working to make the app more secure. There was some concern, joked Nepal, that there was the potential for a fake snow-day alert to be sent and no one would show up for school.
For more information and to download the app, visit https://notify.samyok.us.
Contact Matthew Rhodes at firstname.lastname@example.org.