The student news site of Coral Gables Senior High School


The student news site of Coral Gables Senior High School


The student news site of Coral Gables Senior High School


Felipe Escobar and Juan Varela Make the Future Bright

Working to assist those with mental illnesses, a new application named bright becomes a reality
Courtesy of Varela and Escobar
Juan Varela and Felipe Escobar meet business owners at the NFTE competition.

What started as a business dream, now brings Coral Gables Senior High’s Felipe Escobar and Juan Varela to New York’s national Entrepreneurship Youth Competition. The app and website they named “Bright”, has won regionally and now moves on to the national level. Through months of guidance, collaboration and refining, Escobar and Varela’s business wins top 10 nationally.

“New York was an amazing experience for me, I have never been to a city that big before… Regarding competition, it was also a great experience, we pitched in front of judges, and they gave us essential feedback. Business owners at the event told us our idea had potential and gave us tips on where we should improve on it,” junior Juan Varela said.

 Named “Bright,” the duo’s app provides mental health guidance to young adults struggling to find or afford professional help. Escobar and Varela used their computer coding skills to create the concept code and vision for Bright, the solution to adolescents suffering anxiety and mild depression. While these conditions already contain a professional field, therapy and the medications prescribed along side it are expensive, they argue. Not to mention, most people, especially teens, might not feel comfortable sharing personal information with therapists.

Bright is an affordable and easy to use app that works in conjunction with artificial intelligence to create simulated conversations. Through the use of psychological studies, the app is constructed to give scientifically proven guidance to anxious adolescents who are feeling lost on their emotional journey. At the same time, the responses to questions and emotional statuses are designed to be human-like and helpful.

Bright is unique from pre-existing therapeutic apps due to its innovative use of artificial intelligence. A.I. will not only be communicating with the user but will also be monitoring their progression. Through interactions between the app and user, A.I. can tailor itself to better help the consumer. Thus, creating a personalized experience unique to the each individual.

“We used an open source A.I. model that we could train with psychology studies, books, articles, etc… We tested it out during the summer with over 90 people and got great feedback. Essentially the A.I. is trained on communicating with humans and stores information on thousands of phycological studies,” junior Felipe Escobar said.

Felipe Escobar and Juan Varela preparing to present their business to a group of judges.

The Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship program strives to educate students on the skills and mindset they will need to succeed in the workplace, responsible for recognizing two hardworking Cavaliers that surpassed their standards. Escobar and Varela were taught and guided by Ms. Brown, the Entrepreneurship teacher at Gables, who excels in teaching students the complexities of business ownership and creation. She helped the juniors create their original business model and develop it over time.  

“To continue expanding our business model, we worked on it during the summer. We would converse on Google meet calls or Zoom. Later in the summer, we attended an Entrepreneurship summer camp sponsored by NFTE. There we took our original idea of a therapy chat box and made Bright a full application… with features such as a library of referred podcasts, videos and studies, a statistic tracker that gives scores based on how you may be feeling, a goal tracker, socialization system, journal and more,” Junior Felipe Escobar said.

What set apart this year’s regional winners was the cultivation process they underwent during the summer. With months to spend improving upon their already functional business model they expanded on their business and rectified its faults. It was here where they set their business apart from others and made what was concept into reality.

“Felipe and Juan are hardworking students who are devoted to innovation and competition. Competition is what drove them in to the idea of Bright and what inspired them to continue working on their business through the summer. They are great people and students who I encourage to take more challenges like this one,” Ms. Brown said.

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About the Contributor
Luke Savage
Luke Savage, CavsConnect Staff Writer
Luke Savage is a freshman at Coral Gables Senior High, working as a staff writer for Cavsconnect. He is an avid reader and runner who hopes to improve his writing and the skills involved with the triad throughout his Gables career. Additionally, he takes educational matters with utmost importance and intently plans on having an almost perfect grade point average by the end of the year. Regardless of the sacrifice of time or labor, Luke will present his best work in every class. The genesis for his interest in CavsConnect began during his search for the right publication. Writing professionally in conjunction with designing aesthetic websites interested him. He was more enticed after learning that the publication hosted an extremely competitive environment. Now with the goal of one day becoming Editor-in-Chief, he has incentive to write of a high quality, in a punctual manner and bribe the upperclassmen. Individually, Luke is often described as independent, hard-working and pragmatic. But most see him as impertinent. With four years ahead of him, Gables has no idea who he might become.  
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