Hi there, my name is Roland Horváth, I’ve turned 15 year old on the 26th of March. I'm a 9th grader student in the 9.A class from Széchenyi István Gymnasium, from Sopron, Hungary.
First of all I would like to clarify that my english is not perfect at all, I hope you can understand my story.
I am obsessed with computers. I’ve been playing around with them since I was 4 years old. Computers really changed me. I learned most of my english knowledge through the internet and by playing games. I was about 9 years old, when I got interested in actually making computer games rather than just playing them. So I went on Google. I clearly remember the moments when I typed the following sentence with my childish little english knowledge: “how to make game”. The internet, especially YouTube changed I’m my eyes, from being a source of funny cat videos and Super Mario Bros 3 playthroughs, to being an open and free community for learning anything one’s heart desires. So I got into making silly stuff in GameMaker. Whether I was making some silly platformer game or installing skins and transformation packs on my computer so I can make it look different, I was always working on something. Unfortunately I got bored quickly of my ideas, so I never really finished any of my games back than. After years of developing in GameMaker, I felt like I was a bit ’trapped’. Don’t get me wrong, GameMaker is an incredible software and it was perfect for my silly games, but I wanted more. I wanted to expand. I wanted to deploy my projects to more platforms and to mobile. I wanted to make something bigger.
So I started working on a project with my classmate Fanni, to make an application with which everyone can learn the Hungarian sign language in a fun and playful way, so they can communicate with deaf people. We called it “Mutasd!”, which means “Show me!” in Hungarian.
She isn’t really good with IT, so we split the work in a way that I have to do anything IT related and she has to write the documents, the presentation speeches and making animations for the signs.
My task started by learning how to use Unity, to learn to code in C# and to be able to make 3D models, all from YouTube tutorial videos, without spending any money on courses or anything like that. After two months of learning the basics, I was able to start developing and I’m still learning new things until this day.
We brought the app to several competitions. The app was really successful, it won all of the competitions we submitted it to. We were interviewed many times by national TV channels and magazines (you can check them out on the project’s website). We spent the rewards we earned, on developer account fees, so everyone can download the app for Windows, Mac, Android and iOS from our website (http://mutasd.cf), from the Google Play Store and from the App Store, for free. It’s completely in Hungarian, so I’m not sure if you will understand it :)
Back in April, Apple announced this years Worldwide Developers Conference. While I was browsing through the event’s website by curiosity, I discovered that there is an option to submit a scholarship. Just a ticket for this conference costs $1600 by it self, not counting the travel’s cost. 350 students, including me, from around the whole world, were selected and were given a ticket.
I submitted my submission only about two weeks ago, because I wasn’t brave enough, I didn’t think Apple would give me a scholarship and I didn’t want to embarrass myself. In the last hours before the submissions were closed, I pulled my self together and I started to fill out the submission. I was in a real hurry, because the end of the submissions was really close.
Apple gave an opportunity for students who can’t pay the cost of the travel to the conference, to ask for travel assistance, which in theory includes the accommodation and the flight ticket price. The requirements for travel assistance included the need to explain why you need the assistance and a letter written in english from a teacher or supervisor to confirm that the student needs the travel assistance. I couldn’t attach a letter, because I didn’t have anyone who could write one for me, and I didn’t have time either. So I left this spot blank, hoping I would still get the assistance.
A few days ago I got a little bit nervous, because there was only a few weeks left until the conference, and I didn’t receive any kind of email or phone call regarding the assistance. I checked on Apple’s official developer forum, to see if Apple got into contact with other scholars. Apparently the other scholars have already spoke with someone from Apple, and they already booked their accommodations and flights. I wrote an email to the Apple Support, asking for information. Michael from Apple called me today, to ask some questions. He was really nice and helpful, but he didn’t have many good news for me. The conversation started with Michael asking me if I am attending to the conference. I answered that it depends on the travel assistance. He said, that they can’t offer assistance anymore, the procedure ended on the previous week.
Me and my family were really prepared for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, we renewed my passport and got almost every document what we need to travel to the USA. So now I’m here, writing my story and trying my best to achieve this dream of mine to meet genius scholars, to meet Apple engineers, to shake hands with Tim Cook by himself, to attend at WWDC and to visit the USA and San Francisco.
There are still some legal documents (especially ESTA) which are not done yet, and to make them, we have to have the bookings of the accommodation and the flight ready. For this reason, unfortunately I can only attend to the conference if I was able to raise the money until June 3rd. If I can’t hit the goal, at least I can say myself that I tried everything I could to not miss this opportunity.
Thank you very much for taking the time :)