The School Newspaper of Winston Churchill High School.

The Observer

The School Newspaper of Winston Churchill High School.

The Observer

The School Newspaper of Winston Churchill High School.

The Observer

Another one bites the dust: Grade Melon gets shut down

Photo by Lily Chadwick
WCHS sophomore Isabel Vorabhanda was disappointed when she learned that Grade Melon shut down at the end of the third quarter.

“What do I need to get on my next test to keep an A?” This is a question that WCHS students are heard saying daily. Although other programs had served a similar purpose, Tinu Vanapamula’s “Grade Melon” website revolutionized grade calculating for MCPS students like himself. The website allowed students to see how getting a different score on a previous test or assignment would affect their grade and insert upcoming assignments to see how different scores could also affect it. The recent shutdown of the website has left many WCHS students struggling to predict their grades.

“At the time, other grade viewing apps were clunky, had ads, and were not the best experience overall. I started playing around with the idea and came up with ‘Grade Melon,” Vanapamula said. “The initial process took a couple of months, and most of it consisted of cleaning and working with the data returned from StudentVUE platforms. I also spent much time making the user experience good with the animations and colors.”

Since grades are at the forefront of many WCHS students’ minds, the app gained rapid popularity and became a hot commodity for students. Although the website was blocked on MCPS devices, students could often be found using their phones or personal computers to plug in values and calculate how specific grades affected their overall percentage. 

“I started using ‘Grade Melon’ when the app ‘MyMCPS+’ got shut down,”  WCHS sophomore Laila Foose said. “Many of my friends started using it instead, which is why I started using it. ‘Grade Melon’ helped me calculate my final grade based on quiz and test scores that I could generate myself. It benefited me academically because I knew how well I needed to do on a certain assignment, encouraging me to study more.”

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As the end of the third quarter for MCPS students started to get closer, an unexpected bump in the road occurred for Vanapamula’s website and all of its users. MCPS’ grade-checking platform, “StudentVUE,” experienced an update that completely changed the interface and format of the program. 

“The new update completely changed how the Synergy ‘StudentVUE’ platform sent back data, which in turn stopped ‘Grade Melon’ from working,” Vanapamula said. “I’m still playing around with the new ‘StudentVUE’ systems. However, it seems like a lot of work to get ‘Grade Melon’ back up and running, and as a second-semester senior, I’m not sure if I will be able to get it back up and running before I graduate.”

Since many students utilized “Grade Melon” to see what they needed to get on final tests and assignments of the quarter to keep or improve their grades, the timing of the website’s shutdown was extremely unfortunate for WCHS students. 

“When the website shut down, my peers and I were upset, especially since it was the end of the quarter and ‘Grade Melon’ would have been used most,” Foose said. “It was difficult to figure out my final grade for some classes with grades that had not yet been entered into ‘StudentVUE.’”

Although the new format of “StudentVUE” allows students to input different grades into existing assignments, it cannot add upcoming assignments, a key feature of “Grade Melon.” Following the website’s shutdown, new apps have arisen to serve a similar purpose, but some students find them inferior. 

“The new app called “Grapes” is less efficient than “Grade Melon,” but I’m glad it was found because it performs the same job and has helped several students calculate their grades,” Foose said. “My peers have also been very happy for the new app as well.”

Vanapamula has no objection to new programs arising to fulfill the hole that was left following the “Grade Melon” shutdown. He saw firsthand how essential his website was to the MCPS community and accepted that this may be the end of the road for the website. 

“’Grade Melon’ had a great run, and I am all for other websites to serve a similar purpose,” Vanapamula said. “After all, I won’t be able to maintain a website like this forever. Although I won’t be able to serve the MCPS community anymore after I graduate, I’m sure there will be lots of other opportunities to work on projects that help my community.”

“Grade Melon” has been a great learning experience for Vanapamula and allowed him to show his skills to his community. He benefited himself by fine-tuning his talents while helping thousands of MCPS students. 

“I personally found an outlet through creating projects like this, so I strongly encourage others to try out web development and or app development,” Vanapamula said. “On its best day, ‘Grade Melon’ garnered 12,800 unique visitors, helping tons of students make sure they were getting the grade they wanted. You might be surprised at what you’re able to do.”

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About the Contributor
Lily Chadwick
Lily Chadwick, Photo Manager & Assistant Sports Editor
Lily Chadwick is a sophomore and the Photo Manager of the Observer. This is her second year taking journalism and she is looking forward to bettering her writing while also meeting new people. In her free time, she enjoys swimming, field hockey, going to the beach, and spending time with family & friends.

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