Local Students Gets Surprise of a Lifetime When They Win Nationa - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Local Students Gets Surprise of a Lifetime When They Win National Verizon App Challenge

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KENNEWICK, WA. -- Some local high school students got the surprise of a lifetime when they found out they won a national award for an app they created.

Tri-Tech in Kennewick was one of only four high schools in the nation to win the Verizon App Challenge. After they wiped away their tears, the students found out they won some very cool prizes. 

It's a surprise months in the making. A Verizon representative enters the classroom, and after some confused looks and a little drama, the students find out their months of hard work has paid off. 

"I've never won anything in my life," Genesis Saucedo, a Senior Tri-Tech student said. "And so this is really shocking to us. That's why I started tearing up."

"It's really emotional because we really didn't think we would make it this far and this app really means a lot to us," Amanda Arellano, a Senior Tri-Tech student said. "And hopefully the impact that it will make will affect a lot of people."

This app isn't for fun and games. It's something that can directly affect these students' lives. 

"I've had a personal experience with anxiety and depression," Saucedo said.

And that's exactly what their app will help young people with. The program is called Safe and Sound and will include facts and hotlines for those dealing with anxiety and depression. 

"We've all dealt with stuff like that and it can feel like we're all alone," Arellano said. "And with an app like this, teenagers will know that they're not alone and that there is help out there."

Hugs and cake were not the only prizes these students won. In addition to working with an MIT professor to help make their app a reality, they won a $20,000 check for their school, a Samsung Galaxy tablet and a trip to Texas to present their app in person. That trip for some will include more brand new experiences.

"I'm really excited," Arellano said. "I've never flown anywhere before so this is kind of a big thing."

Once their app is created it will be available on the Google Play Store. It's unclear whether it will be available on the Apple Store.

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