A team of developers at Apex High School will be heading to Washington, D.C. later this month to attend a professional development conference thanks to their “apps” development skills.

John Boezeman, Lena McCord, Louis Le and Lane Shoffner teamed up to develop a “Shop Local Raleigh” app and entered it in a contest sponsored by National Academy Foundation and Lenovo, the world’s No. 2 PC manufacturer.

Their efforts earned a trip to the NAF conference along with teams from Queens, N.Y., Hartford, Conn. and Waco, Texas.

Julie Oster, Director of the Academy of Information Technology at Apex High School, tells WRAL Tech Wire that the Apex team began putting together the app in February and presented it June 5.

“It’s an app for Shop Local Raleigh and allows users to look up member organizations under categories such as restaurants and services,” Oster says.

The students own the app and have decided to keep it “free as it is for a non-profit.”

“We’re amazed at how these students rolled up their sleeves to create some truly impressive mobile apps,” said Michael Schmedlen, worldwide director of education at Lenovo, about the winning teams. “By enabling them with the right technology and framework for learning, these doers demonstrated their creativity, programming skills and entrepreneurship.”

The four winning teams will present their apps at the NAF conference on July 18.

Following that event, several of the apps are expected to be made available for download to the public.

The schools are among the more than 100 “IT Acadmies” set up nationwide by Lenovo and NAF to help encourage STEM education.

“Thanks to our collaboration with Lenovo, young people had the chance to apply what they are learning to a technology that is relevant and exciting to them. Strategies like this engage students, reduce the likelihood they will leave school, and increase the chances for them to excel,” said JD Hoye, president of the National Academy Foundation.

Lenovo operates its executive headquarters in Morrisville.