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North Springs High School Student Wins National Music Technology Competition

Samuel Kuran is notified of his win by Pharrell Williams

How many students would love to be notified by a famous recording artist that they won a national contest? One North Springs High School sophomore, Samuel Kuran, recently received the exciting news he was chosen as one of five grand prize winners of a technology project competition announced by singer, songwriter, record producer and entrepreneur, Pharrell Williams. Approximately 1,500 middle and high school U.S. and Canadian students applied to the “Your Voice is Power” project, a collaboration between Amazon, Georgia Tech and YELLOW, an organization founded by Williams focused on educational equity.  

The competition encourages students to voice their opinions on social justice while combining two of Samuel’s passions – music and coding. According to a statement by Amazon staff, the collaboration is the latest initiative from the Amazon Future Engineer program, Amazon Music and Georgia Tech to expand computer science education to students from underserved communities currently underrepresented in the technology space.  

Teachers were given five modules to use while engaging students in meaningful conversations about the importance of racial justice. The teaching concluded in spring of 2021 with the competition in which students could enter the contest to share their own voices through remixing Williams’ song “Entrepreneur.” Participating students were challenged to use computer code on Georgia Tech’s learn-to-code-through-music platform, Earsketch. Samuel had learned the software in his Intro to Digital Tech class with CTAE teacher Alicia Tunson and launched into months of work on the project. Reflecting upon his work, he said, “I emerged with newfound knowledge of Python and Earsketch. I am confident this knowledge will propel me to greater heights in music and coding so I can make improvements to future projects.”  

The prize for the five top winners is a $5,000 scholarship or grant to start a business. Samuel shared his hope for a career in music and would consider at some point establishing a charity organization or finding some means to make a difference in the larger community.