Houston student, Jones Mays II, wins Apple’s global coding competition

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) – Apple invited students around the world to create a great app, and a teen from Houston beat out hundreds of others from dozens of countries to take home the top prize.

At first, Carnegie Vanguard high school student Jones Mays II thought the email claiming he was the winner was spam.

“I called my dad, and I yelled on the phone, and he didn’t believe it either,” Mays said with a laugh.

The reality of his accomplishments really hit him when he arrived at Apple Park in Cupertino, California and learned that CEO Tim Cook would be sitting alone with him.

“I couldn’t breathe,” Mays said. “I didn’t know I was going to be presenting my app in front of him, the tech superstar. That was amazing. And I was just amazed at how engaged he was with my app.”

The app Mays created is called Ivy and makes it easy for users to identify invasive plants, a critically important skill for many, inspired by the days Mays gardened with his grandfather.

All of this, a dream come true and then some.

“Honestly, it really confirmed my suspicions that I was trying to be a software engineer,” Mays said. “It really validates all of my hard work and it really pushes me to finish my app so it can finally be published on the App Store by the end of the summer.”

For any student or adult who wants to succeed as a software engineer, Mays advice is to “build a project instead of just reading about how to do it, just start Put your hands on the work because in the end you learn by doing.”

This summer, Mays will have plenty of opportunities to implement that advice as he helps teach computer science classes at Carnegie Vanguard.

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