Dream IT trip to USA for Holbeach app whizzkid Jack
A trip to the USA for University Academy Holbeach student Jack Elms (18) this summer turned out to be even better than he could have possibly dreamed.
The sixth-former has just returned from a week-long stay in San Jose, California, after winning a scholarship to the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference.
Jack, who won the trip in a competition to design an educational application (app) for mobiles and laptops (read more here), met Apple executives and engineers, toured its Silicon Valley bases and took a front row seat to hear from influential speakers.
He said: “It was an amazing experience, even better than I dared to dream of.
“I met some great people and I've definitely made some friends for life as it was good being with so many like-minded people.”
Jack, who creates his own apps as a hobby, has always been a big fan of the Apple brand but never had the courage to apply for its scholarship until this year.
Up to 10,000 people worldwide entered the competition, which involved designing and coding their own app, to win a place at The Apple Worldwide Developers Conference in California.
Jack’s creation of a maze running game saw him placed in the top 350 and, along with tickets to the conference, he was also one of the lucky 125 entrants to get his plane tickets and accommodation costs covered as well.
He said: "On the day before the conference, our scholarship group was taken to an undisclosed location which turned out to be Apple HQ.
"We were given a tour, including some of the restricted areas, and got to mingle with its employees before the Apple chief executives gave us a really encouraging speech about how impressed they were with us.
"Then the week itself kicked off with speeches about all the new Apple products for which we had front row seats.
“There were other talks about all the new capabilities they have just unveiled and how we can use them in our own coding.
"We also got to attend various labs and sessions too before doing some sightseeing on the last day."
After finishing his A-Levels this summer, Jack is moving to Ipswich where he will take up an apprenticeship with BT in its internet department.
But he is also hoping to repeat his success and win a place at next year’s Apple conference too.
Jack said: “Everyone was so down to earth and happy to chat about one of my up and coming apps.
"It relates to health and fitness and so I got to spend about 40 minutes speaking with the Apple executive who looks after that area.
"It was a great experience and definitely a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity as well.”