How a 19-year-old won a free scholarship to WWDC


All next week, student Kenny Batista will be writing a
diary from Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC).
Kenny won a coveted scholarship, which includes food, lodging,
keynote access and meeting Apple CEO Tim Cook. In his first
entry, Kenny describes how he won the scholarship:

few weeks ago, Apple selected me for a WWDC scholarship. I’ll
be heading down to the conference this Saturday and staying
there the whole week.

I’ll be writing a first person-view perspective of the event
from the dorms, the scholarship orientation (after which we
meet Tim Cook, supposedly), the keynote, the sessions and more.

I got the scholarship by creating a demo in Apple’s Xcode
version of Swift
and writing a short essay about it. It took me
six days — about 30 hours of work after school — but it was
worth it!

Here’s how I did it.

No sleep till the keynote!

week I finished my first year at Make School Product
here in San Francisco. Make School is Y
Combinator-backed alternative college with a focus on computer
science and product development. Make School accepts 50 students
from around the world to attend this awesome program. Nine months
ago I moved to San Francisco from New York to attend the school.
I’m 19-years-old. Kenny Batista Profile PictureKenny Batista Profile Picture

currently lying down on bed as I write this part of
the entry on my iPhone: I’m utterly stoked for Apple’s
World-Wide Developers Conference next week. I can’t stop
wondering about what dev goodies Apple has in store for us this

Every year,
Apple selects about 300 students for its WWDC student
scholarship program through a competition. It’s open to kids 13
or older who are students or alumni of a STEM organization. In
past years, Apple asked students to make apps or submit ones
that have already been made. This year, Apple tasked
prospective scholars with making a visually interactive
scene through either Xcode Playground or
the Swift
 app, an iPad app that teaches Apple’s
Swift programming language.

The winning Swift Playground

Above is the interactive demo I made.

When Apple opened its scholarship program, they gave us a few
weeks to build and submit the playground. I worked on it from
home every day after coming from school.

I wanted to build a playground that symbolized a main core
values of Apple that we all praise: inclusion and diversity.
There are three features in the playground that come together
in front of today’s modern Apple logo to represent how the core
team at Apple (the entire company) embraces people’s
differences to grow as a whole.

I could have done it way faster, but the classes that I used to
program it were not well documented by Apple or the iOS
community. So I had to do a lot of figuring things out myself.

The two main classes I
used to build my playground’s visual interactivity were Apple’s
CAEmitterLayer and UIBezierPath.
CAEmitterLayer, which derives from the QuartzCore
framework allowed me to render particles on top of the layer in
my view. I used CAEmitterLayer to build two main
features in my playground:

1) stars in galaxy particles
2) flowing diversity Apple logos particles.

UIBezierPath is a class deriving from the UIKit
framework that allowed me to create line paths on top of my
views. I used UIBezierPath to define the three
straight colorful lines that angled around the flowing stars
and colorful Apple logos.

I’m in!

A few weeks later, Apple reached back with this e-mail:

WWDC Acceptance E-mail Kenny BatistaWWDC Acceptance E-mail Kenny Batista

Here’s my WWDC Scholars profile:

“Dub Dub”

A couple of local scholars and I will be heading down from
San Francisco to the San Jose area on Saturday morning so that
we could all set ourselves up in the dorms.

On Sunday, we will attend the scholarship orientation where we
will all come together and meet and mingle with Apple’s lovely
CEO Tim Cook and Apple engineers. Definitely looking forward to
meeting the man in charge of releasing the amazing products we
all use.

The rest of the week will be
a blast – we’ll attend the Keynote and find out what Apple has
been making for us.

I’m excited by the rumors of Apple releasing iOS 11, a
refresh of the MacBooks, and the other developer goodies that
we’ve been waiting all year to see and use.

There will be tons of insightful knowledge to be learned from
the sessions/labs being hosted by top Apple

I’m also looking forward on attending the parties being thrown
in the area by Square and Google!

I’m confident that next week will be a truly unforgettable
experience, I want to make sure that I write it down. I will be
describing my entire experience on the Cult of Mac blog as
a series of diary entries. So stay tuned and come back for


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