DebatEV wins Rep. Debbie Lesko’s 2021 Congressional App Challenge in Arizona’s Eighth District

Rep. Debbie Lesko has named Rohan Agrawal from Mountain Ridge High School and Dens Sumesh from Basis Peoria as the winners of the 2021 Congressional App Challenge in Arizona’s Eighth District.


When asked what inspired the creation of DebatEV, the students said, “The pandemic has moved most school and other activities dependent on research online, however we noticed there was an abundance of non reputable news sources and science publications that were locked behind paywalls. They were formatted in weird ways, and were tedious to switch between after having 30+ tabs open. Both my partner and I participate in High School Debate, and one aspect of the club is writing quite long cases, or arguments, every month when a new topic comes out. Some of these topics involve important real world topics such as Nuclear Policy, Medicare-For-All, and Child Care. Debate cases were the perfect place to be able to pull relevant pieces of evidence for many topics as they are already cut down to the most relevant part of the article pertaining to the topic. We also wanted to ensure that the evidence that students use for research was reputable and that they had abundant amounts of evidence for both sides of the story. A simple google search would land them on multiple website with questionable reputability and often non relevant results.”

The 2021 Congressional App Challenge yielded 2,101 fully functioning apps. After eighteen months of disruptions to educational cadences for students everywhere, the Congressional App Challenge came roaring back with 7,174 students registering for this year’s competition. All told, 340 Members of Congress hosted Congressional App Challenges in their districts across 50 states, Puerto Rico, Guam, the Mariana Islands, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Washington, D.C.

The Congressional App Challenge is an official 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. Each participating Member of Congress selects a winning app from their district, and each winning team is invited to showcase their winning app to Congress during our annual #HouseOfCode festival. The program is a public-private partnership made possible through funding from Omidyar Network, AWS, theCoderSchool, Facebook, Replit, Accenture, and others.

The 2022 Congressional App Challenge will launch in June of 2022, and eligible students can pre-register for the competition now.