Communitas Wins Rep. Smith’s (NJ-04) 2019 Congressional App Challenge

Rep. Christopher Smith has named four Tinton Falls students as the winner of the Congressional App Challenge in New Jersey’s 4th district. Communications High School’s Vaughn Battista, Colin Martin, Jack Hester and Michael Cielecki submitted Communitas, a task-sharing app that allows users to exchange helpful tasks with members of their community in exchange for virtual points.

When asked why they were passionate about creating a task sharing app the students replied,“We were inspired to create Communitas by currency exchange apps like Venmo, but with a focus on goodwill. We thought there must be a way to use this technology to incentivize community service.” 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.