WordToASL wins Rep. Rick Larsen’s 2022 Congressional App Challenge in Washington’s Second District

Rep. Rick Larsen has named Sydney Vo of Mariner High School and Azul Rangel of Mariner High School as the winners of the 2022 Congressional App Challenge in Washington’s Second District.



When asked what inspired the creation of WordToASL, the students said, ”In early middle school, Azul watched a show named Switched at Birth. In it, there were two, let’s call them sisters, one of whom was deaf. As Azul watched the show, she realized there was an entire community of deaf people that she was never aware of. This sparked an interest in ASL. Watching the struggles of the deaf character made Azul realize how marginalized deaf people are. It made her realize the many opportunities they would never have because they were deaf. Sydney shared this ideal, too, after conversations with Azul and through realizations of her own. Together, both of us realized that there was not enough awareness of the deaf community in America. Around three years later, Azul and Sydney had the chance to make an app for a hackathon in AP Computer Science Principles, which is where the idea for this ASL converter app was born.”



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.