KCHS valedictorian codes school bus program for families

ROCK HALL — As the student member of a school system committee, Ben Loller jumped into a coding project to address an issue raised by some parents.

Kent County High School’s Class of 2024 valedictorian, Loller is headed to Brown University in the fall.

At the Ivy League university in Rhode Island, Loller plans to continue his studies in computer science, with a special interest in artificial intelligence.

He also plans to keep working on a web-based program and location transmission hardware to help parents track their students’ school buses.

During the quarterly meeting of the Kent County Board of Education on Tuesday, May 28, Loller gave the school board members a sneak peek at his work. He showed them lines of code and the user interface, and spoke about how it all came about.

“Online I found some nice styling formats, so that will make the website look prettier,” Loller said. “This is a very fun project to work on.”

Loller served as the student member of the school board’s Citizen Advisory Committee for 2023-24.

It was during one of those committee meetings that the question was raised about the school system getting an app that allowed parents to track their children’s buses.

Loller agreed with the value of such a program, but also recognized the financial constraints school systems face.

So, he set about to tackle the project himself, writing line after line of code.

Superintendent Karen Couch said Loller approached her following that Citizen Advisory Committee discussion, wanting to take a shot at writing such a program.

“After that (meeting), Ben came up to me and he was so excited,” Couch said. “I just have such high praise for what he is doing.”

Loller worked with William Poore, Kent County Public Schools’ supervisor of technology, as part of the Makerspace program at Kent County High School and the coding team.

“As involved as Ben has been (in school) and with how much he takes on, he has worked tirelessly on this project,” Poore said. “I’m just incredibly proud of what he’s accomplished.”

Loller’s mother was on hand for his presentation to the Board of Education, speaking about how much time he spends coding at home.

“He codes all night,” Wendy Loller said. “That’s why I’m here, to see what he’s been doing.”

Ben Loller said he has taken the code and equipment on successful test drives. He has reviewed privacy concerns and is incorporating the necessary safeguards.

School board members and those in the audience of the May 28 meeting, impressed by Ben Loller’s progress, encouraged him repeatedly to copyright his work.

“And you’ve got to come up with a cool name,” board member Trish McGee told him.

Trish McGee is the owner and publisher of The Evening Enterprise. She did not contribute to this reporting.

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