Wanted wins Rep. Brad Schneider’s 2021 Congressional App Challenge in Illinois’s 10th District

Rep. Brad Schneider has named Michael Xing and Bill Le from Lake Forest Academy as the winners of the 2021 Congressional App Challenge in Illinois’s 10th District.



When asked what inspired the creation of Wanted, the students said, “Wanted was highly inspired by Pokemon Go in that it uses a game-like interface to make completing environmental objectives fun. At the same time, we hoped to break down the daunting task of saving the environment into bounties, which we hoped can make environment-saving activities and community building more exciting. As high school students or community members, we are often told to pick up the trash, avoid using plastic, and recycle whenever possible. But this constant pestering almost makes us immune to caring about serious environmental issues. Moreover, other than these individual acts that we are encouraged to do, most of us don’t know how to get involved. Compiled with the fact that getting involved means having to dedicate a lot of our time and lifestyle (joining campaigns, going to events, etc.) to the cause, many of us are scared to start. People should be able to do small activities that aren’t too time-consuming at their own pace. We value the idea of freedom and flexibility, which is how we can get the most people involved. We wanted to create something where people can easily contribute to the environment whenever they have free time. Not all people can participate in eco-friendly activities due to their circumstances. Depending on your time and financial status, some people are “excluded” from the movement. For example, eco-friendly products are a lot more expensive. Participating in rallies or events is also very time-consuming. That’s why we added a shop feature where people could purchase eco-friendly products and donate GaiaCoins to environmental causes. The idea is that you earn coins through your work and you don’t have to pay a cent for it. Lastly, we wanted to build a community between people and NGOs. A lot of us know NGOs but don’t know a direct way to get involved. NGOs are always in need of manpower. They know what to do to protect the environment. On the other hand, there are a lot of students, but many of us don’t know what to do. Wanted creates a connection where people can easily get in touch with the NGOs’ activities and participate. It doesn’t take signing out a form, or days and weeks of planning ahead. Saving the environment can be a community effort. You can simply start a bounty, have fun, and complete it at your own pace.”

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.