MARYSVILLE — Abby Magee, 17, is a star student, a leader and accomplished swimmer at Marysville Pilchuck High School. Her competitive drive extends to all areas of life. “I’ve worked my tail off.” This year, she helped launch a smartphone app for students and teachers. MPHS Connect was created by 2016 Lake Stevens High School alum Tyler Vanbrocklin. A handful of other local schools also use personalized versions of his app.
Question: The app includes the daily bell schedule, a calendar of events and other things. What’s most popular?
Answer: (For homecoming week) we had all our nominees on there with their pictures and bios. It saved money (versus printing ballots for everyone) and it’s a lot quicker and more efficient. Before homecoming, it was the bell schedule because everyone likes to know what’s going on. … Today we had a really weird bell schedule, so people are going to be looking at that.
Q: You’re working with Tyler on an app that will work on student Chromebooks to help connect those who don’t have smartphones. But this has already proven pretty popular on campus.
A: We had almost 1,000 downloads within a month. So that was exciting to see how fast it progressed. Our goal is to have everyone in the school on, including parents and teachers. It is taking off exponentially.
Q: You control the content on the app. What’s your goal?
A: There’s no Skyward, nothing with grades, tests, SAT — this is just a way for people to think about the activities at MPHS, and they don’t have to worry about the stresses of high school. It’s like a getaway. I’m super excited with how it’s gone so far and can’t wait to see it grow even more.
Q: Besides doing this for ASB leadership, you are quite busy with swimming. You’re a captain of the school team and also competing with the Mighty Marlins Swim Club.
A: I’ve gone to state all four years and won all four of my events last districts, which was really exciting. … I swim before and after school every day.
Q: You describe MPHS swim and dive coach Jaci Legore-Hodgins as your mentor.
A: She is a ball of fire and has mentored me on how I should think of others before myself. … She pushes me to go outside of my box — my thinking box and my comfort zone. I’m the most competitive person ever. But she’s taken me to the next level, my new edge.
Q: Your class load includes college-level Advanced Placement classes in statistics and literature. You have a 3.9 GPA. But you say it didn’t come easy. Friends tutored you in math last year.
A: Because I’m a hard worker I get my grades to where I want to be.
Q: Now you are tutoring AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) students this year.
A: It was refreshing for me to do something new. I normally am the one that is being tutored. So it’s nice to be the one helping because I see how excited they are and it’s how I am excited when someone helps me.
Q: How does it feel to be a senior?
A: Great. It’s finally here — but it’s already moving quickly. I think I’ll be able to enjoy it some more because I’ve committed (to swim for Augustana University in Sioux Falls, South Dakota). So I won’t have that hanging over my head.
Q: Any hobbies or hidden talents?
A: I really like those adult coloring books. I have like seven or eight of them. I’d like to fill more pages. I like it because it’s structured — I like to stay inside the lines. It’s like a metaphor for my personality.
Q: Your vice principal says you have a lot of school spirit.
A: I love MP. And I embrace it. I think it’s more of an attitude than anything. It might not be the best school in Washington. It might not be the best school in Snohomish County. But if you make the most out of it, you’ll get the most out of it.
Melissa Slager: 425-339-3432; firstname.lastname@example.org.