Real World Problem - Real Solutions
Achieve Developer German Licon, CEO Ron Huber, and I got a chance to mentor a 2012 Senior class from High Tech High Chula Vista (http://www.hightechhigh.org/schools/HTHCV/). They were working on their Senior project, which used Drupal as a platform for solving their school's tough parking predicament.
Tackling the limited parking problem at High Tech High was no easy task. With no budget to speak of, Professor Tim McNamara's students had to be extra clever in finding a solution. Their solution: the High Tech Chula Vista Carpool program promoting carpooling by faculty and parents. To accomplish this task they chose to build a website leveraging the Drupal platform to facilitate communication between potential carpool drivers and passengers. The creative class of 2012 built a robust online property that displayed their challenges, approach, expected results, and of course the online solution. The students also organized regular "Carpool Mixers" to offer participants an opportunity to get to know each other prior to committing.
Visiting HTHCV - High School Was Never This Awesome
On our visit to the school, their parking problem was very evident. We were lucky enough to get a parking space, but it was clear that it was pure chance that we arrived as someone else was leaving.
After signing in at the front desk, we were greeted by school ambassadors. The ambassadors were very eager to give us a complete tour of the grounds. The school has a classy modern look, with a lot of windows and beautiful halls that seemed to be right out of the Google campus. During our tour we learned that the adjoining building with the High Tech High, the K-8 school, shared the same parking lot. The students also told us teachers and students often park in the adjoining neighborhoods, which never goes over well with the neighbors.
At first thought, High Tech High paints a picture of a school where students are focused solely on applied sciences. In fact, the school has a large emphasis on application and expression of creativity. One of the features of the school I loved was the wonderfully decorated hallways. There are drawings and projects all over the walls. A flyer for a LAN Party left me feeling a little reminiscent of my high school years.
After our tour we had a professional meet and greet in a conference room with the whole class. The meeting broke up into small teams where Achievers got to work directly on the different portions of the project; Ron pitched some great ideas with the marketing team, which was in charge of selling the project to parents and faculty. German got to get his hands a little dirty with the front-end work being done by the Drupal team. I had the great pleasure to talk with the team who was putting together projects that quantified the impact of the carpooling program. As we collected ourselves to leave the school, there was a palpable feeling of accomplishment. It was clear that the class was not only very motivated, but it was clear they were well under way to succeed in solving their school's parking problem!
It is fair to say the Achieve team was very impressed with the fact that the class took on such a monumental challenge. The whole class deserves a huge amount of credit for a job well done! Also, a big high five to their teacher, Tim McNamara, who is a Drupal alum with mad writing skills (I hope he's not grading this article!). On the detail side, the students told us they heavily leveraged Drupal.org; we saw about 15 of them at the San Diego Drupal Camp (SANDcamp.org) and they built an internal forum to collaborate and organize their efforts. A tremendous amount of work was completed both online and offline, we've learned time and time again here at Achieve, great websites fail without exceptional marketing.
Shout out to the team!
Cody Aguilar, Nima Azbijari, Eric Blancas, Jonathan Cabral, Daniel Castro, Matthew Costello, Roberto Dominguez Felix, Victor Flores, Maximilano Gastelum, Wilbur Gutierrez, Jesus Heredia, Melissa Herrera, Juan Alberto Loza Franco, Marco Oliva, Michael Sanvictores, Joshua Sheahan, and Fernanda Vazquez. You guys are awesome!