GoFigure wins Rep. William Timmons’ 2022 Congressional App Challenge in South Carolina’s Fourth District
Rep. William Timmons has named Gauryama Blanchard of Riverside High School and Jaansi Parsa of Dunbar High School as the winners of the 2022 Congressional App Challenge in South Carolina’s Fourth District.
When asked what inspired the creation of GoFigure, the students said, ”Our old math teacher quit, and so a different math teacher had to quickly fill in his place. However, he didn’t have any access to IB math questions, and didn’t have much experience with the curriculum. Naturally, he was overwhelmed and didn’t really know how to teach the class. Of course, the whole situation wasn’t fair for the teacher, but there wasn’t really an alternative since there’s a nationwide teacher shortage. It also wasn’t fair for the students, who needed to learn the content so that they could pass their exam. So, he asked us to make practice math questions since we were part of the Math Team and already knew the class content well.
We soon learned that making questions was super time consuming. It would take hours just to make a 30 question problem set, and we had other work to do for school as well. However, while making the questions, we started figuring out some tricks– instead of using trial and error to see what numbers and equations made neat, fun, questions, we started using patterns and logic we could apply to make good questions on the first try. That led to the idea: if we could apply logic to make good questions, then a computer could do it as well! That would save us a lot of time, make it easier for the teacher to make questions quickly, and even let students make their own questions to practice on their own! Most importantly, it would be a resource that would be beneficial to years of students after us, and any future teacher would be less likely to be overwhelmed. The goal of the app was to be a sustainable practice resource– one that would last and something that we and others after us could build on for years to come.
We are really passionate about education– something that’s important to so many individuals, but also to the country as a whole. After all, as Nelson Mandela said, ‘The youth of today are the leaders of tomorrow.’”
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.