STUDENT Spotlight
Western Tech. graduates earn honors for video game in state, national contests


Student Spotlight

Some people spend their summer break at the beach. Others, at camp or at home. But not Phillip Edwards, Isiah Manns, and Kells McDonald.

Recent graduates of Western School of Technology and Environmental Science, Edwards, Manns, and McDonald traveled last month to Louisville, Ky., to attend the 50th Annual National Leadership and Skills Conference (NLSC). While there, they participated in the SkillsUSA Interactive Application and Video Game Development contest, earning a silver medal for their entry and finishing in the national top 10.

“They represented Western Tech., our IT – Programming magnet, and Baltimore County Public Schools well,” says Greg Foster, an information technology and computer science teacher at the school.

In the competition, Edwards, Manns, and McDonald demonstrated “Dimension L,” a video game that they designed, developed, and coded during the 2014-2015 school year. The then-Grade 12 students began working on the game under Foster’s guidance in the fall. Through a joint effort – wherein Edwards created the characters, Manns produced the backdrops, and McDonald wrote the code – they completed “Dimension L” the following spring.

“They came up with the game idea, split up the duties, [and] communicated with each other through an online project management software called Trello,” says Foster about his former students. “Phillip drew each character using the simple drawing program Paint... [and] Kells used the 2D gaming engine Love and the .lua programming language for the coding.”

Back in April, Edwards, Manns, and McDonald competed in the 42nd Annual SkillsUSA Maryland Leadership and Skills Conference (MLSC), held in Severn, Md. After describing their process and presenting “Dimension L,” the students won a gold medal in the Computer Programming category and advanced to the next level of competition. A mikeroweWORKS Foundation scholarship provided the team with financial support on its journey to the national conference and contest.

For Foster, the experience working with Edwards, Manns, and McDonald over the past school year as they prepared for and participated in the competitions was a positive one.

“They were professional in everything they did,” he says. “From communicating with each other and with me to sharing ideas, asking for and giving help as needed, and leading with one another during every presentation at each competition, they always remained committed to the team.”

Though they will not compete in the 2016 MLSC and NLSC, in which only high school students involved in Career and Technology Education programs are eligible to participate, the Western Tech. alumni have other exciting opportunities in store. This fall, Edwards and McDonald will attend the Community College of Baltimore County before transferring to the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, while Manns will attend the University of Maryland, College Park.

“I am so proud of them,” says Foster on the graduates’ accomplishments. Certainly, his pride is a sentiment shared by all of us on Team BCPS.

Congratulations on a job well done, Edwards, Manns, and McDonald!

For more information on MLSC and NLSC, visit and, respectively.  

Story by Blake Lubinski, Department of Communications and Community Outreach. Photo from Greg Foster, information technology and computer science teacher, Western School of Technology and Environmental Science.


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