Bee a Hero wins Rep. Matt Cartwright’s 2021 Congressional App Challenge in Pennsylvania’s Eighth District

Rep. Matt Cartwright has named Lydia Hodge from Abington Heights High School as the winner of the 2021 Congressional App Challenge in Pennsylvania’s Eighth District.

When asked what inspired the creation of Bee a Hero, the student said, “I have always cared very deeply for the environment and have sought ways that I could help make a difference in preserving it. In my sophomore year of high school, I founded my own 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, To Bee Determined, to sell t-shirts and to donate the profits to The Bee Conservancy, another nonprofit which works to restore bee populations. Since that time, my love for bees has only continued to grow; they are crucial not only to natural ecosystems, but also to human lives in a myriad of ways of which many people are completely unaware, and I have made it my personal mission to help educate my community about just how important they really are. I chose to make my app about protecting bees because I wanted to develop a fun and interactive way for people to challenge themselves to be more conscious of how their own actions can alter the environment and the other species that live around them, both positively and negatively.”

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.