Some students spend their summer break, working minimum-wage jobs, attending camps or sitting around taking a needed break from homework assignments.
Blackhawk Middle School student Chance McKibben, 14, spent his summer and part of the spring during the school year developing a mobile application for Fort Wayne Community Schools.
The app brings information like lunch menus, school delays and closing, grades, school supply lists and important dates to student, parent and teacher smartphones and tablets.
"People will have pertinent information at their fingertips," said Krista Stockman, public information officer, who helped with fine-tuning the app. "We want to have as much communication as possible, as often as possible."
This wasn't the first app McKibben developed. His brother has his own photography business and encouraged McKibben to develop an app so his clients could view prints on their smartphones and tablets.
From there, McKibben said he wondered why the district didn't have an app.
So last spring he sent a mass-email to all Grile Administration Building employees and received hundreds of responses. He said by the end of the day he was in the principal's office, who set up a meeting with the district's technology department and told him not to send anymore mass emails.
"I met with Jack Byrd (director of FWCS' technology department) on a Friday, so I got out of math class," McKibben said.
Byrd and Stockman both worked with McKibben on perfecting the app and said McKibben is so professional, they would often forget he was an eighth grader.
"Some adults in my department aren't as well-presented as Chance," Byrd said. "He's got incredible presence."
During the press conference Wednesday morning, McKibben presented the app and answered questions like a seasoned professional.
"It's hard not to just smile and stare at Chance," said FWCS Superintendent Wendy Robinson. "It's our responsibility to support parents so students like Chance can follow their dreams. The development of this app is absolutely phenomenal."
McKibben said he taught himself to create applications by reading books, watching videos and of course, practice.
"It takes a lot of patience to build apps," he said.
The entire process took two to three months he said. And Apple requires a submission process that could require extra work.
Now, McKibben has started his own business for developing apps called AppleAppFactory. He's created an app for his church and has met with the City of Fort Wayne, the Fort Wayne Police Department and Fort Wayne Children's Zoo about creating apps, but no other organizations of committed yet.
For FWCS the benefits of the app and it being created by a student are immense. The release of the app is just in time for the district's registration times this week and next.
"Right away, (students and parents) are connected in a new way," Stockman said. "It's reaching people where they're at. People aren't always at their computers, but they always have their phones or iPads."
She said she recently attended a conference and spoke with other districts that paid anywhere from $5,000-$20,000 for app development. Stockman didn't have the exact figure, but said the district paid McKibben less than $1,000.
Byrd said he hopes it will also save the district in paper costs, being able to reach people with technology instead of letters or flyers.
McKibben is working with the district to develop other apps for bus route notifications and apps for individual schools.
He said he's proud of the app and that with some schools having iPads this upcoming school year, many will be using what he created.
"I put the district into everybody's hands. It really shows hard work pays off," he said.
The app is free and can be downloaded through the Apple or Google Play app stores by searching "FWCS", or text FWCS to 75309 for downloadable links.