Moving Acadiana Forward: Three Teurlings students develop prize-winning app

Moving Acadiana Forward

LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) — A team of Acadiana high school juniors developed an app to help people with similar interests meet and find new friends safely. 

The three young women’s design won them the local Trust Your Crazy Idea challenge put on by Junior Achievement of Acadiana and the Brees Dream Foundation.

Plan Pals — it’s a business created by Haley Privat, Emma Lemaire, and Olivia Leonard, three juniors at Teurlings Catholic high school. 

 “You go on and it’s basically for people who are new in town or going to college out of state and don’t really know anyone,” said student Olivia Leonard. “You can find new friends in an area that you’ve never been before.”

These young women developed the app during the Trust Your Crazy Idea challenge, which teaches students business, marketing, and creating skills. 

Mentors help students along the way and workshops were held at the opportunity machine. 

“We ended up going to the workshop not knowing what we are doing at all,” said Hailey Privat. “We got there, and everyone was amazing. We ended up competing, we won and we couldn’t believe it because we really went into it totally blind.”

“They did not trust their crazy idea at the beginning and Mr. Bordelon and I kept saying this is really good and you have to keep going,” said teacher Mallory Manuel. “Once they bought into their own idea and listened to how great it was, and once everyone else agreed with us they took off.”

There are three main features to the app they developed. 

 “The first one is a normal background check,” said student Emma Lemaire. “Then one of our cool features we are really proud of is that whenever you were going somewhere there is an option to send your location to someone you trust in the event of an emergency.”

We can’t give away too much quite yet because the girls still have to compete in the state competition. 

“My favorite thing is that these three girls may not have been friends before this project but they spent so much time together that I can see a bond that formed between them,” said Manuel.

The original state competition had to be postponed because of COVID-19. The students will now virtually compete Thursday, May 28th at 1pm. 

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