AUSTIN (KXAN) - As Austin's technology industry continues to grow, Austin schools are making sure to implement a curriculum that gives students a 1-Up for the future.
"It actually helped me a lot. It helped me develop skills I didn't really think I had before," said Laura Plascencio, a 15-year-old freshman at the school. "It just makes me feel like I can actually accomplish things and be recognized for what I do."
On Wednesday night, the fourth annual Globey Awards will honor middle- and high school students who invented, designed and created educational video games.
Students worked in teams and were able to submit their game for a chance to have Globey judges rate their programs for the chance to win a laptop.
The Globaloria class as a whole teaches students how to code, along with teaching math and science skills. Students work on critical learning skills, problem-solving and collaborative skills.
Each of their projects reflects different research topics, and they create the educational games based of the research. For example, some students reflect on recycling, animal abuse or environmental issues.
Palscencio focused her work on health. Her research about genetically modified foods inspired both her game, "Count on Me," and better eating habits.
"After that, I just started getting more into it. And it actually has been about four months since I haven't eaten any junk food at all -- no sodas, no burgers, none of that," said Plascencio. "Friends are like actually proud of me because they're like, 'How are you going to do that?' Because they eat it every single day."
She also received the Central Texas National Center for Woman & Information Technology Award for Aspirations in Computing. She received a grant for a little more than $3,000 to run her own summer camp at East Austin College Prep for middle school girls.
One of her 14-year-old classmates, Michael Alvarez, is also known as a top designer.
In 2012, he won the National Scholastic Art & Writing Award Video Game Design Gold Medalist and got to go to Carnegie Hall in New York. He also won the Globey Awards that same year.
Alvarez's game, called "Ball World," clenched the national award. He also created a game called "Synchronized Saviors," which is about recycling.
"Brainstorming, I just noticed a lot of trash around my neighborhood, so I just thought I would do something about it," said Alvarez. "The hardest part is actually combining the whole thing. You've got to combine the code with animation and graphics. You basically have to fuse everything together to become one project."
East Austin College Prep accepts students between second grade all the way up to the 10th grade. Students can start the Globaloria class in sixth grade.
EAPrep is a free public school that is open to all students, but serves a lower-income population. Some of these students will be the first in their family to graduate high school.
"It makes me really proud -- like Michael and Laura and some of my other students -- that have taken these skills that they have learned and have applied them in design and programming and critical thinking and have created these amazing projects that have gone on to be recognized nationally," explained Globaloria teacher Nyssa Arcos Evans. "It's really amazing, and it makes me really proud. And I can't wait to see what they do in the future."
The freezing and near-freezing rain that swooped into Central Texas overnight prompted numerous school closings and delays and made for a harrowing morning commute on Friday.
Cold temperatures forecast for Saturday morning have prompted Georgetown officials to cancel the parade associated with the annual Christmas Stroll. The Stroll, however, will go on.
A Lago Vista couple faces child endangerment charges after authorities found their home covered in feces and garbage.
A man is charged with murder in the shooting death Wednesday of a woman at a North Austin auto repair shop, police said Friday.
It's the first criminal charge following a yearlong criminal investigation into the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas.
The man who fell into a flood control channel and drowned last month was identified Friday as 57-year-old Ronald M. Allen.