Nani wins Rep. Ed Case’s 2021 Congressional App Challenge in Hawaii’s First District

Rep. Ed Case has named Jaylen Rabago, Kaden Hieger, Aureanna Inay, and Zaydi Willis of DreamHouse ‘Ewa Beach as the winners of the 2021 Congressional App Challenge in Hawaii’s First District.

When asked what inspired the creation of Nani, the students said, “When we were coming up with ideas for our app, we knew that we wanted the main idea to be around mental health. During our design-thinking process, we recognized that a huge component of mental health well-being in Hawai’i has to do with being connected to our culture. Hawaiian children are using social media and apps at a really young age these days, and are exposed to mainly Western beauty standards and culture. We decided it’s time for Hawaiian children to see themselves represented in an app. This is why we created Nani – a dress-up game that connects kids to the Hawaiian cultural tradition of Hula. We hope kids have fun playing this app, and that the app prevents important practices such as Hula from dying out.”

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.