By Dedrick D. Henry, Sr.
Gerlannda Asse, a 17-year-old junior at Miami Edison High School in Miami, Florida and a native of Haiti was motivated by her distraught situation and unanswered questions to create the mobile game app called Word Avenger. Asse shy, somber and unfamiliar with the new language moving to the US at the age of 13 came up with a method to allow new English learners a way to familiarize themselves with words being used by playing a game.
Miami Edison Senior High School students, Francis Pierre- Louis,17, Evanson Telisme, 18, Gerlannda Asee, 17, and Frantz Senat, 17, are working to improve language and literacy with Word Avenger, a mobile app that takes players on an intergalactic mission to vocabulary words with matching definitions. The Edison students won the Business Plan Chal-lenge’s high school track with their idea, all based on their struggles with the English language.
In 2013, Asse developed the business plan as a part of the school’s National Academy Foundation’s Academy of Finance and Entrepreneurship magnet’s partnership with the (NFTE) Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship South Florida, which works with entrepreneurship in low- income communities. Asse and her team of peers whom also shared the same troubles with the English language together used their stronger subjects like science and math to incorporate them into the project now called Word Avenger.
The first version of Word Avenger in 2-D with English PSAT words using Construct 2 is a free game editor for Windows. Plans include various versions in 3-D and many languages for all grade levels and standard tests. Players guide the aircraft through showers of words and when the definition is shown the player has 30 seconds to match (SHOOT) the word. Word difficulty elevates when the levels elevate.
NFTE awarded Word Avenger in its national World Series of Innovation competition this year with both the People’s Choice and the Adjudicator’s Choice awards in the Literacy Game or App Category. Team advisor, Yolette Mezadieu, says the game to her is a replica of Battlestar Galactica.
Word Avenger will be available in Google and Apple stores in September. The Edison students have big dreams and bright futures – Telisme, University of Kentucky, business and mechanical engineering; Senat, business and entrepreneurship and Asse, fashion designer, business and medical school.