Spot wins Rep. Mark Takano’s 2021 Congressional App Challenge in California’s 41st District

Rep. Mark Takano has named Aiden Rheem and Emmanuel Pudussery from Riverside STEM Academy as the winners of the 2021 Congressional App Challenge in California’s 41st District.

When asked what inspired the creation of Spot, the students said, “After a whole year of online school, we were tired of laggy and frozen screens, the occasional parent coming in the room and distracting the whole class, and when the teacher’s two-year-old accidentally presses the wrong buttons, wasting precious time valuable to our education. We put our minds to the test and wondered about the various ways we could use our coding skills to help the community and that was where Spot was born. Spot wasn’t originally like it is today; neither the name nor the design was the same. We first made an application somewhat similar to Google Meet. We realized this wouldn’t work. After some trials and errors, we got the app ready. Our name came from the precision we were hoping for in the dialogue we had with our peers. Today, Spot is up and running using Amazon Web Services and Kubernetes with Docker deployment.”

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.