Kasey Schlaudt, a 2017 graduate of Alpha Omega Academy (AOA) from Colorado Springs, recently won a prestigious scholarship from Apple, Inc. to attend the 2017 Worldwide Developers Conference (WWCD), which was held June 5-9 in San Jose, California.
To qualify for the scholarship, Schlaudt created a visually interactive scene in Swift Playgrounds that could be experienced within three minutes. Swift Playgrounds is an iPad exclusive app designed to teach Apple’s Swift programming language. Because Colorado Springs has one of the nation’s worst suicide rates, Schlaudt used his coding skills to incorporate the science behind preventing suicides into a short game.
“When I started developing, I wanted to make a difference in the world and especially my community,” Schlaudt wrote in his essay that was part of his winning entry. “I wasn’t sure how I could impact people so greatly until a number of my friends started taking their lives in the last couple of years. This led me to create my playground. I made technologies for preventing suicides where users use feeling identifications, suggested action plans, and emotion-boosting colors.”
At WWDC, Schlaudt said he was able to briefly meet with Apple CEO Tim Cook. He said he also met people from many different countries, including Israel, France, Spain, and Germany. In addition, Schlaudt received a close-up look at Apple’s latest work with augmented reality, a new technology which creates a composite view by superimposing a computer-generated image on a user’s view of the real world.
The son of Joseph and Holly Gardner, Schlaudt graduated from Alpha Omega Academy in July. Although he remains undecided about his future, the promising developer is grateful for the opportunities he had to hone his coding skills while attending school online.
“The great part about Alpha Omega Academy is being able to do what I’m passionate about,” Schlaudt said. “For me, my passion is coding, and I could do that and do school with my schedule at AOA.”