Mt. Vernon Graduate Making Money Right out of High School

Blake Explaining his "Alexa" Skill

The High-Tech Academy is one of the keystone departments at Mt. Vernon High School where students receive hands-on and engaging skills.  Recently, Ethan Patrick and Blake Miller used their high-tech skills to develop an Amazon Alexa Powered Magic Mirror and demonstrated it at a school board meeting.  The skill they developed works with Amazon's "Alexa"  and has received thousands of downloads, as well as a few Amazon awards.


After graduation, Miller submitted this skill to an Amazon Programming competition and won an Amazon Echo Dot.  Miller’s skill can be used on any Alexa device such as Amazon Show, Amazon Dot, Amazon Tap, or Amazon Echo.  Building from this success, Miller embarked on another Amazon Programming Challenge which earned him a full-size Amazon Echo (value $129) and $200 in Amazon Web Services credits.  To Miller's surprise and delight, he is making a profit from his Alexa skill and it has been used more Amazon Echothan 57,000 times by Amazon device owners.


Many people have heard about the high-tech characteristics of the Amazon Echo. The hands-free “Alexa” feature is one of the most popular aspects of the Amazon Echo and it can answer just about any question, play requested music, and even order pizza for you. These requests are called “skills” and can be made by anyone that has the knowledge on how to create it.


He has received several thousand downloads in the few months since it has been published and on average, his skill has responded to requests from users 79.3 times over that last 30 days, which can be seen in the picture below.


Julie Bravard-Johnson, the High-Tech Academy teacher who taught Patrick and Miller, states, “It is nice to know I am teaching skills that learners can earn more than $100 an hour from right out of high school.” 


Mt. Vernon Community School Corporation believes in teaching students lifelong skills that they will be able to use in their Blake's Downloads in the last 30 dayscareer and for the rest of their lives.




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