Mentality wins Rep. John Larson’s 2021 Congressional App Challenge in Connecticut’s First District

Rep. John Larson has named Niteesh Kalangi, Rahul Jayachandran, and Jude Ramanan from Glastonbury High School as the winners of the 2021 Congressional App Challenge in Connecticut’s First District.


When asked what inspired the creation of Mentality, the students said, “Stress has been a part of all of our lives for a long time. As kids in this generation, there is so much societal pressure on us to be the best in our classes, win a lot of awards, and get into a prestigious college. While this pressure can be helpful, it also can be very destructive, creating widespread mental health issues. In fact, many experts have stated that today’s youth is in a mental health epidemic. Being high school kids and living in a generation in which stress levels are rising exponentially among the youth, we thought this would be a really good idea. We constantly hear of how people are stressed for the upcoming test, a personal situation, or some arbitrary event. In these situations, we thought it would be extremely useful to have a resource you can access within seconds that is designed to calm you down and reduce your stress. Additionally, it is important to clarify that stress is never completely erasable. It is simply something that comes with being human. In fact, it can be a good sign if you are stressed because it shows that you are coming across challenges in your life, and if you don’t challenge yourself, you can only improve so much. However, we wanted to create an app that allows people to educate themselves about the best ways to handle stress. Since stress is like an inescapable, negative feeling, we think it is very important for people to learn how to control it and even turn it into something positive. To conclude, our goal with this project was to give people a resource that they could easily use to reduce their stress whenever they want and for any reason. Additionally we hope that this resource will educate people on the effects of stress on an individual basis, and a societal basis. Lastly, we simply wanted to use our coding and computer science abilities to help people deal with their stress.”

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.