De-stress wins Rep. Gerald Connolly’s 2021 Congressional App Challenge in Virginia’s 11th District

Rep. Gerald Connolly has named Hailey Pan from Wilbert Tucker Woodson High School as the winner of the 2021 Congressional App Challenge in Virginia’s 11th District.

When asked what inspired the creation of De-stress, the student said, “In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, I witnessed those in my community, especially my classmates at school, struggle to adapt to this new reality. As a high schooler in quarantine, I myself felt anxious and stressed about the new virtual learning environment, the month of isolation from others, and the safety of my loved ones. However, to preserve my mental health, I began to practice yoga and meditation daily and found that it positively impacted my well-being, reducing my anxiety and motivating me to pursue self-improvement. Through my app, I wanted to help others experience the immense benefits of yoga and meditation on stress and mental health.”

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.