Letter from the Director: Reflecting on #HouseOfCode

Today, Congress had planned to celebrate the winners of the 2019 Congressional App Challenge at #HouseOfCode. While the current public health crisis has forced our team to cancel this celebration, it felt an appropriate moment to write to our students, parents, educators, and supporters.

The focus of our nation, both in the present term and in the coming months, will be to do all we can to support our communities. For our App Challengers, this will be the first major global event embedded into their collective historical memory, a defining event for a generation. Our response as leaders, mentors, parents, and representatives will lay the groundwork for how App Challengers and their peers come to see the world and their place in it.

Today was to be an opportunity to celebrate the next generation of American innovators at the U.S. Capitol. Hundreds of winning App Challengers from 44 states would have been demonstrating their winning apps for hundreds of Members of Congress throughout the day, the largest and most prestigious student demo day in the world. Student registration for #HouseOfCode sold out just three hours after it was opened this year, and while it’s clear now that there was no way to go forward with the event given the current public health crisis, there is a understandable sense of disappointment from everyone involved. While it is not a replacement for the recognition they would receive at #HouseOfCode, I’d encourage our supporters to review a few of our 2019 Winners’ apps here.

I have been encouraged by the many ways that people are seizing this unique break from normal life to better themselves. To that end, the Congressional App Challenge team is engaging with our sponsors and partners to explore initiatives that will encourage students to use this time away from the classroom to further their computer science education journey. We are hoping to provide details on these initiatives in the coming weeks.

As for the Congressional App Challenge itself, we are full steam ahead for the 2020 Challenge. Over the next few weeks, we will be working with Members of Congress to confirm their district’s participation for the 2020 Challenge. The application portal to submit apps to the 2020 Challenge will open on Monday, June 1st, but students from participating districts can begin coding their applications now! Applications coded after November 1st, 2019 will be eligible for submission to the 2020 Congressional App Challenge.

On behalf of the Congressional App Challenge, I wish you and your communities strength and security through the challenges ahead.

Best wishes,



Joseph Alessi

Program Director

The Congressional App Challenge