San Joaquin Valley Snacks wins Rep. David G. Valadao’s 2022 Congressional App Challenge in California’s 21st District

Rep. David G. Valadao has named Elijah Rice of Kingsburg High School and Alyson Johnson of Kingsburg High School as the winners of the 2022 Congressional App Challenge in California’s 21st District.

When asked what inspired the creation of San Joaquin Valley Snacks, the students said, ”We were inspired to create this app because we understood the foreign feeling people might get when visiting the valley and like any other place. We wanted to make an app that was a quick and easy process for families and friends to find cool locations to dine in and get to know the place they are visiting.
When coming up with an app, one must think about what the user wants to know or do. In our case, we put ourselves in people who were visiting and wanted to know a good place to eat that wasn’t a chain restaurant.
For example, Alyson recalls a moment during the summer when someone from Coalinga asked her what was good to eat around Kingsburg. She remembers saying a few common places downtown, but she struggled to remember. After that conversation, she thought about how easy it would be to answer their question if only she had all of the information in one place. Sure, doing a Google Search on good places to eat around you might be a good option when you don’t know much about the area, but even with common apps for this situation like Yelp can be too broad and not include everything. They also may not have the right area you are looking for and probably work better in bigger cities. This app makes it more personal with our experiences and the fact that it is focused on small town business’ or hidden business’ in a city.”

The Congressional App Challenge smashed previous participation records in 2022. All told, 9,011 students registered for this year’s competition – creating 2,707 fully-functioning apps for 335 Members of Congress across 50 states, Puerto Rico, Guam, the Mariana Islands, American Samoa, and the District of Columbia. This year’s competition set the record for most student registrations, most apps submitted, most apps per district submitted, and most districts receiving over 20 apps. The wildly successful competition continues to impress upon House Members the importance of computer science education and the need to develop a pipeline of diverse, domestic STEM talent.

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, Rise, theCoderSchool, Apple, and others.

The 2023 Congressional App Challenge will launch in June of 2023, and eligible students can pre-register for the competition now.