Rep. Yvette Clarke has named Randy Sim, an 11th Grader at Stuyvesant High School, as the winner of the 2022 Congressional App Challenge in New York’s Ninth District.
When asked what inspired the creation of Vigil.us, the student said, ”Early in 2022, news of the Uvalde School shooting was being covered all over the internet. I was shocked, horrified, and scared at how easy it was for a criminal to enter a school with a weapon. As a high school student, I felt like we were just sitting ducks waiting for a shooter to come into our building one day. I also felt enraged that almost nothing was being done to prevent shootings in general, not just in school, from harming more innocent people. However, articles started to surface with reports stating that the shooter from the Uvalde school shooting hinted that he was going to commit such a crime from personal anecdotes of his coworkers, friends, and relatives. I was surprised that not one of them reported this behavior prior to the incident and that made me realize that detecting signs of instability and violence was extremely difficult. Not many people would be willing to go through the trouble of contacting the FBI or the police station over minor suspicions. Thus, I decided to create an app that solved this exact problem: to make reporting suspicious people easy, anonymous, and detailed. I hope that with my app, more suspicious behavior will be reported and that more potential shooters will get caught before they get the chance to commit any atrocities.”
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.