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February 24th, 2016
PALO ALTO, Calif.—At an award ceremony at Palo Alto City Hall, Congresswoman Anna G. Eshoo (CA-18) announced that Castilleja School’s Heejung Chung, Claire Huang and Aimee An were chosen the first place winners of the 2016 Congressional App Challenge for the 18th Congressional District. Their winning app Mezzo, according to its creators, “reduces food waste by giving food businesses a quick and easy way to discover local food pantries and donate their surplus.” Mezzo will be on display in the U.S. Capitol and be featured on the U.S. House of Representatives website.
Eshoo, a founding co-chair of the 2015 bipartisan competition, said: “Bravo to this year’s winning team of the Congressional App Challenge in the 18th Congressional District. The students who participated in the 2016 competition demonstrated great knowhow, tech savvy and enormous potential.”
This year, 186 Members of Congress from 42 states and one territory signed-up to participate, and students from across the country submitted 473 apps. The 18th Congressional District had 24 students participate with 10 entries which can be viewed here. The entries explored solutions to a range of topics, from equal access to SAT test prep and driver safety to tracking community service hours and improving teacher-student communications. Other entries addressed election participation, nutrition and helping consumers after a car accident.
“What I thought would be a simple review of app demos turned into an inspiring connection with today’s talented youth,” said Moms With Apps cofounder and editor Lorraine Akemann in a blog post. Akemann was a judge in this year’s competition. “As a parent myself, I sometimes worry about what high school will be like for my own children. The App Challenge eased some of those concerns by introducing me to students who are thriving and succeeding at real world problem solving.”
About the Congressional App Competition
Established by the U.S. House of Representatives in 2013, this bipartisan competition is part of a nationwide event that invites high school students from all participating congressional districts to compete by creating and exhibiting their software application, or “app,” for mobile, tablet, or computer devices on a platform of their choice. It is designed to promote innovation and engagement in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education fields.
Apps are judged based on the following criteria: quality of the idea, including creativity and originality; implementation of the idea, including user experience and design; and demonstrated excellence of coding and programming skills.
The winner from the 18th Congressional District, chosen by an independent panel of expert judges, will be featured on Challenge.gov, and the winning app will also be on display in the U.S. Capitol, honoring the winners from across the country.
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