Winners in NJ-04 2017 Congressional App Challenge
Top placers designed app to assist special needs students
U.S. Rep. Chris Smith (NJ-04) announced Thursday the winners of the Fourth Congressional District’s 2017 Congressional App Challenge (CAC), a competition for students of all ages from across the nation. The announcement comes in anticipation of Computer Science Education Week, December 4-10, 2017.
“The Congressional App Challenge was launched to give school students in STEM fields, computer science and programming a venue to showcase their software applications achievements,” said Smith. “The App Challenge is intended to foster creativity and promote teamwork. At the same time, it prepares them for the high-tech jobs of the future.”
The winning app was designed by students of Point Pleasant Borough High School’s advanced software engineering class. The app, called “Lunch Buddy,” was designed to assist special needs students in the Life Skills class find classmates to sit with at lunchtime so they feel welcomed and provide them with a sense of comradery with their peers. The app is currently in use at the school.
“Around the world, the STEM fields are central to the global workforces of the future and our nation must strive to be a leader,” Smith said. “Here at home in this competition, the winning team put together a great product that promises to make the lives of special needs students a little better. I thank the students and judges for participating in the competition. And I congratulate each of the winners.”
The winning students, who all reside in Point Pleasant Borough, are:
The winners’ prize is a $250 credit for Amazon Web Service to be split between the four students. Additionally, the winning students and their teacher, Mr. Nick Gattuso, will be invited to the “House of Code” App Challenge Reception in Washington, DC in the spring.
Additionally, four students from Communications High School in Wall Township will receive Honorable Mention for their app, “Ugo!” The students created the app to help children socialize outside of their homes and provide them with recreational and volunteering events near them that they can attend.
They will each receive congressional certificates.
The Challenge submission period closed Nov. 1, 2017. To enter, students competed as individuals or in teams of up to four people and the apps were judged by a panel of expert local judges who reviewed the entries and selected the winner. In the springtime, the winning apps from across the country will be featured on a display in the Capitol building.
The Congressional App Challenge was created in part to highlight how Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) skills are essential for economic growth and innovation, and because the U.S. has been falling behind on these fronts. STEM occupations are projected to grow by 17 percent between 2008 and 2018, compared to 9.8 percent growth for non-STEM occupations. According to some estimates, the U.S. may be short as many as three million high-skilled tech workers by 2018.
Click here to read about the 2016 winners from Smith’s competition last year.
Computer Science Education Week (CSEdWeek) is an annual program dedicated to inspiring K-12 students to take interest in computer science. The Internet Education Foundation serves as the operational “sponsor” of the CAC. For more information, please visit: http://www.congressionalappchallenge.us/