Rep. Mike Thompson has named two Benicia students as the winner of the Congressional App Challenge in California’s 5th district. Benicia High School’s Kai Rush and Benji Ryujin submitted Space Trace, an app that allows its users to free-draw constellations.
When asked why they were passionate about creating an app that encourages creativity the students replied, “When I was a kid, I spent hours gazing at the night sky. I didn’t care about the eerie silence nor the dinner that was getting cold. I loved this allure of the galaxy. I wanted some way to share this interest with aspiring young kids just like me, so I created the app.” They hope to encourage other students to better their communities by using their computer science skills.
Over 10,000 students registered for the 2019 Congressional App Challenge. These students created and submitted 2,177 functioning apps, marking the end of the most successful Congressional App Challenge to date. All told, 304 Members of Congress hosted Congressional App Challenges in their districts across 48 states, Puerto Rico, the Mariana Islands, and Washington, D.C.
The CAC is an initiative of the U.S. House of Representatives, where Members of Congress host contests in their districts for middle school and high school students, encouraging them to learn to code and inspiring them to pursue careers in computer science. The non-profit Internet Education Foundation provides the CAC with supplemental staffing and support. In the five years of the Congressional App Challenge, the program has yielded 1134 App Challenges across 48 states. Thousands of functional apps have been created by over 25,000 students, and participant demographics surpass all industry diversity metrics.