Smart Planner wins Rep. Betty McCollum’s 2022 Congressional App Challenge in Minnesota’s Fourth District

Rep. Betty McCollum has named Coolsjes Singhvi of Stillwater Area High School and Riddhi Singhvi of Stillwater Middle School as the winners of the 2022 Congressional App Challenge in Minnesota’s Fourth District.

When asked what inspired the creation of Smart Planner, the students said, ”Our country is a land of opportunities.  We spend more than 1.5 trillion dollars on school, and college education combined. There are many resources, both free and paid, which can be utilized by students and parents to succeed. Yet most of the students are unaware or make use of all the opportunities available to them.  This application combines three concepts namely: a purpose-driven life, SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound), and the mastermind group concept of Thomas Alva Edison.  We felt that this unique approach will allow us to deal with multiple issues in our youth be it drug addiction, alcoholism, falling school grades, addiction to video games, lack of direction, etc. in a fundamentally sound and different manner.
A successful life journey takes a plan. A plan involves setting up goals, and a plan of action (milestones, tasks, appointments, evaluations), and does need to include helpful resources and support groups, to achieve those goals.  We wanted to create an application that would allow us to combine our goals with helpful, qualified resources and allow us to quantify or qualify success with the help of external evaluation.  It is also important to review goals and plans of action periodically with yourself, your parents, coaches, or teachers as our life is dynamic and things and priorities can change over time.
As per our research, we found that counseling, just for admission to a good college, can cost anywhere between $6000 to $100,000 (e.g., Ivy League Consulting).  This is unaffordable for most of us.  Our application also allows a student to build their brand and create a profile that is attractive to a good school.
In addition, we wanted to create an application that allows the complete development of students and not just formal education.  For this reason, we created the concept of a Life Plan.  Life Plans can include things like spirituality, co-curricular activities, sports, arts, languages, good habits, emotional development, social networking, or any other field that an individual desires.  We desired to allow a user to create a holistic view of life and then supplement it with useful resources.”

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.