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Early College alumnus develops app

by Curtis Hayes, Director of Communications

Franklin County Early College High School alumnus Paul Caroline, Class of 2017, has developed a new mobile app designed to help lift up ministries in his hometown of Louisburg, as well as thousands of others across the county, state, country and world.

Caroline, now a junior at the University of Pennsylvania, developed an app called FirstFruit. The purpose of the app is to assist worshipers in making tithes to their churches. As with most apps, the idea was sparked by necessity.

“I had been working long weekend shifts at a summer job, and I would sometimes have to get to an ATM before dawn on a Sunday morning to get my offerings for church,” Caroline said. “I had not had any experience with programming at the time, but I hoped that a mobile donation platform would make people more inclined to give.”

Caroline is majoring in computational biology and is planning to continue his education in graduate school. Franklin County Early College High School Principal Erica Shoulders-Royster said Paul Caroline was always an overachiever when it came to academics.

“Paul was always among the first on campus, and he never was one to leave early,” Royster said. “He had a love for science and a passion for helping others, serving as a tutor for students at Vance-Granville Community College while he was still in high school. I’m very proud of him and the work that he is doing.”

Paul said that an event he participated in during his first year at UPENN, called PennApps, piqued his interest in computer science and its many versatile applications. He said that his experience at ECHS was instrumental in preparing him for academic success in computer science at the university.

“One of the most striking features of my education at ECHS was its strong sense of community,” Caroline said. “There is a tremendous value in fostering a collaborative spirit. Being part of a relatively small school yields a special sort of intimacy in academic engagement. This is part of the reason why I am drawn to the often collaborative culture of computing.” 

He has some great advice for current Franklin County Schools’ students.

“Be mindful of new opportunities and cherish interactions with others,” he said. “It is worthwhile to consider many ways to solve a problem, and often the best way to learn is to be humble and ask for help.”

Paul Caroline