As technology aides at Sedgwick High School, senior Kolby Hutton and junior Camryn McGinn can often be found providing assistance in the classroom — whether troubleshooting issues with computers or Promethean boards, setting up the sound system in the cafeteria or a number of other tasks.
Last spring, though, the pair was recruited for a more intensive project. USD 439 technology director (and the students' supervisor) Ryan Suppes came to them with a challenge on behalf of the city of Sedgwick — build a new city website. Over the course of a majority of the semester (February through May), the two worked on the update, which was officially launched over the summer on June 20.
"We did it every day in his class and outside of school we did it, too," McGinn said.
"I think a lot of it was outside of school," Hutton said. "Their old website was completely jumbled and unorganized; they pretty much wanted a new website so we told them we would and we'd make it way more organized."
Both have an interest in technology that drew them to the task, with Hutton even hoping to pursue a degree in computer science at Fort Hays State University next year.
Hutton said he played around with website design as a freshman, but the duo found out just how intricate the process was first-hand almost immediately after they started the project.
"The first week we had no clue what we were doing, really, so it was kind of rough, but we figured it out," McGinn said.
On top of learning about design (which Suppes helped them with if needed), Hutton noted they had to find out more about the city in the process to get the information that needed to be included on the new website.
Ultimately, the new website was approved in late May — toward the end of the school year — and went live about a month ago.
Both have helped out in smaller ways around the community, but seeing the fruits of their labor pay off in a big way for their community was even more fulfilling.
"We did something that was actually helpful that somebody could use," McGinn said.
"I think it's pretty cool. It makes me feel proud; it just made me feel accomplished in a way," Hutton said. "It feels good to help out the community. Not only did it feel good to help out the community, but it felt good to have people say, 'Good job.' "
For a look at Hutton and McGinn's work, visit www.cityofsedgwick.org.