Logo Color
Media Contact:
Monica Lopez
626-396-3625 x 88357
Mobile 626-344-1402


App Academy at Pasadena High School Student-designed App  
Earns $1,750 Prize and Investor Meeting 

PASADENA, CA - During a two-day marathon programming session, a team of four freshmen from the App Academy at Pasadena High School developed a mobile app to help local residents as part of the inaugural Hack for Pasadena competition on March 15-16, sponsored by Innovate Pasadena.  Their app won the prize for "Most Accessible Implementation of Technology to Reach and Engage the Community," including a $1,750 check and a meeting with a Silicon Beach venture capital firm to pitch their app for additional funding.

"We wanted to design a mobile web app that could help Pasadena residents easily estimate their energy and water usage, and find available rebates for energy efficient appliances," said team member Sebastian Ojeda. The app includes an energy and water usage calculator and links to Pasadena Water and Power resources showing how consumers can save money.


The youngest team in this all-ages competition, Moises Cuevas (14), Sebastian Ojeda (15), Sevag Satamian (14), and Julian Van Riet (14), all students of the Pasadena Unified School District (PUSD), were determined to flex their newfound programming muscle in the service of their community. Just six months into their courses at the App Academy, they had already learned enough to be competitive even against industry professionals.


"The work done by these students is 21st Century Learning in action," said PUSD Superintendent Jon R. Gundry. "The creativity, critical thinking, collaboration and communication skills shown by these students to build this app are exemplary of what is being taught across the district on a daily basis.

The App Academy at Pasadena High School is an innovative four-year program where students learn computer science through projects in mobile, web, and game development. The curriculum develops the computer programming skills highly sought by companies such as Google, Facebook, and Twitter.


Though space is limited, there is still an opportunity for incoming ninth grade students living within the Pasadena Unified School District boundaries to apply for the App Academy through PUSD's Late Open Enrollment application period which ends April 21. Families who live outside of district boundaries can also apply for an interdistrict permit to attend the App Academy and other PUSD schools and programs starting May 5. More information on enrollment can be found online at:


"We couldn't be more proud of our App Academy students and their accomplishment," said Erik Dreyer, Director of STEM Programs at the Pasadena Educational Foundation (PEF) that supports and manages the App Academy and PUSD middle school robotics programs. "We are excited to see what they will create in 10th grade, 11th grade, 12th grade, and beyond."


Hack for Pasadena was a two-day team collaboration and competition event held at Pasadena City College (PCC) where developers and designers used open data sets and hands-on problem solving to re-imagine the way the web, software apps, data and technology can shape the future of the city. The event drew over 100 participants from the tech community, including students, technology professionals, community members and city officials to work together to solve complex social problems through technology innovation. Hack for Pasadena was part of CONNECT Weekend: A Weekend for Difference Makers & Disruptors sponsored by Innovate Pasadena.




App Academy 

Pasadena Educational Foundation

Pasadena Unified School District



App Academy freshmen: Julian Van Riet, Sebastian Ojeda (15), Moises Cuevas (14), and Sevag Satamian (click here for hi-res image)  



Pasadena Educational Foundation is a nonprofit organization that advocates for public education, engages the community, and develops resources to support excellent education for every Pasadena Unified School District student. Whether it be through the arts, music, health centers, gardens, or STEM programs they support, PEF is dedicated to creating a better future for the public school students of Altadena, Pasadena, and Sierra Madre.


The Pasadena Unified School District (PUSD) serves pre-K to 12th grade students in a 76-square mile area that includes the communities of Altadena, Pasadena, Sierra Madre and unincorporated parts of Los Angeles County. Pasadena Unified School District provides a caring, engaging and challenging educational experience for over 18,000 students every day.

� Copyright 2014 Pasadena Educational Foundation. All rights reserved.