Havelock High senior Alicia Bess has seen it in the classroom.


To view Havelock High's video on the award-winning project, click here: http://widget.newsinc.com/_cfvp/playlist16x9_player.html?CID=15348&WID=25274&VID=25642001&freewheel=91764&sitesection=havenews_hom_non_fro&external_url=http://www.havenews.com/



Havelock High senior Alicia Bess has seen it in the classroom, students who may be too shy or too embarrassed to let a teacher know they are failing to grasp a concept.



“I’ve witnessed kids asking me what’s going on, and they don’t want to ask the teacher,” she said. “It was mostly about embarrassment, about being judged or students being confused and not wanting to interrupt the teacher.”



That’s where HELP comes in, the Handy Educational Learning Program developed by a group of Havelock High students. The concept won first place in the statewide Emerging Issues Forum Innovative Challenge last week in Raleigh.



HELP is a computer program that allows students to anonymously engage with the teacher in the classroom using a basic stoplight method, with green indicating they have no questions about the material, yellow indicating they need further explanation and red indicating they have a specific question.



Bess, one of the Future Business Leaders of America students who worked on the project, said the tool allows students to ask questions without the fear of looking dumb in front of the rest of the class.



“It lets the teacher know anonymously to help the students,” Bess said.



She said students were tasked with development of a project that would further education as part of the contest.



“We brainstormed for a while and tried different things,” she said. “When we found HELP, we just expanded on it. We sent a survey to all the CTE (Career, Technical and Education) classes, and the majority of them liked our idea. It kind of validated our idea.”



The Havelock High project, guided by faculty advisor Natascia Carr, was named one of three finalists for the statewide honor in December based on a project description and business plan. Havelock was announced as the winner, beating out East Chapel Hill and the School of Science and Math, at a banquet last week in Raleigh.



“Everybody from our table that was from our school got up and immediately yelled,” said Andrew Savoie, another student on the project.



The students were called up on stage to receive the award, which was presented by Gov. Pat McCrory.



“He said it was so fantastic to meet us all,” Bess said of McCrory. “He was acting like I was a movie star or something. He acted like he knew us.”



As part of the contest, the students had to create a video that described the project and would be used in online voting. Havelock received 60 percent of the online vote.



“It’s great that we were able to achieve that through the support we had of all the teachers, the students here and all the people in the community,” Savoie said.



Savoie and Bess admitted that their acting skills for the video needed a little work.



“Let’s just say there were a lot of takes,” Bess said. “There was a lot of stuff for them to work with. We’d say we can just edit that out, and Ms. Carr would say ‘oh yeah. We’ve got a lot to edit.’”



The project got the assistance from Hunter Graves, who previously had helped create two videos that finished in second place in statewide contests.



“I’m glad we won this time,” he said. “Last time we finished in second place and I thought we should have won.”



Graves said he enjoyed bringing the concept of the project to life in the video.



“I really liked the idea to begin with, so it was pretty cool to be able to take it and present it in a way that it wasn’t presented before,” he said.



For being named a finalist, Havelock High received $1,000, and as the winner, received another $5,000 to go toward the development of the project.



“That’s our next step,” Carr said. “The community college has an entrepreneurship program, so we may see if we can partner with them.”



The students can think of nothing better than to see their idea put to good use in the classroom.



“It would be so great seeing our idea in real-life situations where it can actually help students become better learners,” Savoie said.