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Congressional App Challenge highlights young designers
app challenge pic
Students from the CodeX program at Hanshaw Middle School in Modesto won the Congressional App Challenge for the 10th District in 2015 with an app called SketchBuddy, which encourages users to express their creativity through drawing. - photo by Photo Contributed

With a seemingly endless number of smart phone applications available, many savvy tech enthusiasts have begged the question, can I make a better app myself?

California’s 10th District Congressional App Challenge will now give young designers the opportunity to answer that question.

This challenge invites middle and high school students to compete with peers to create and showcase their software app for mobile, tablet or computer devices on a platform of their choice. The best app will be displayed in an exhibit in the U.S. Capitol and be featured on the U.S. House of Representatives website.

“The spirit of innovation is the bedrock of American ingenuity, and this competition offers the next generation of pioneers a national stage to display their creativity and talents,” said Congressman Jeff Denham. “I encourage the Valley’s bright, young minds to participate and look forward to seeing the final products of inventiveness in November."

The Congressional App Challenge is intended to encourage high school students to learn the skills of coding and computer science through designing their own app from scratch. The challenge also highlights the value of science, technology, engineering and mathematics education to promote these fields of study to students.

During last year’s app challenge, over 1,700 students from across the U.S. signed up to participate.

Last year’s 10th district winners were from the CodeX program at Hanshaw Middle School in Modesto. Arturo Arias, Azucena Tellez, Stephanie Picos-Nunez and Emily Arias created an app called SketchBuddy, a family-friendly app that encourages users to express their creativity through drawing.

Other winning app ideas ranged from video games to apps with information on upcoming elections in their area and across the country.  

Students may compete as individuals or in teams of up to four. Participants must submit their app’s source code and a demo video online by midnight on Nov. 2.

Submissions will be judged by a panel of computer science professionals, along with congressional representatives. The winner will be announced during the week of Dec. 5.

For more information about the contest or to see app designs from last year’s contest, go online to