Coastal wins Rep. Matt Gaetz’s 2022 Congressional App Challenge in Florida’s First District

Rep. Matt Gaetz has named Gabriel Jacobs of Niceville High School and Hannah Castor of Niceville High School as the winners of the 2022 Congressional App Challenge in Florida’s First District.


When asked what inspired the creation of Coastal, the students said, ”Since I grew up here, I’ve constantly been scuba diving, surfing, and fishing on the coast, and like other locals, I’m well aware of the risk that beaches hold, such as strong currents in areas, or large waves.

However, tourists are generally unfamiliar with the beach and its safety measures, and have poor knowledge of beach hazards like rip currents and breaking waves. Due to overconfidence in swimming ability or lack of current knowledge, tourists can make unwise swimming decisions. Just this year’s memorial day weekend, there were a reported  26 calls for distressed swimmers in just Destin, with lifeguards performing over 30 water rescues, and sadly one death. It seems as though every summer, there never fails to be some tragic tourist death due to ocean conditions. ”

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.