Prep Students Win Congressional App Challenge (District FL-27) for Third Straight Year

By Maegan Azpiazu, Communications Specialist, Grades 9-12

U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL-27) has announced Gulliver Prep's Jake Seymour '20, Sebastian Quintero '20, Ishan Shah '20, Matthew Garcia '20, Ryan Costa '20 and Daniel Fleites-Cruz '20, as winners of the 2018 Congressional App Challenge for her Congressional district. This marks the third straight year Gulliver has won its district's Challenge, as Gaetan Almela '19 and Kristian Zedan '19 took first place with their ChromaTilt app in 2017 and Vicki Rios '17 won in 2016 with Simple Sign.

The Congressional App Challenge promotes education in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) field, and is the largest student computer science competition in America. This year marks the fourth official Challenge, as 222 Members of Congress across 44 states hosted app challenges for their student constituents. A record 5,200 students participated, yielding 1,715 original student-created apps.

The group's winning app, Kickstart, is dedicated to guiding students through learning object-oriented computer programming. By teaching advanced coding concepts through the use of personalized instructional videos and applications such as Prezi, Nearpod and Google Forms, Kickstart aims to lay the foundation for programming languages such as Java. It's aimed at students in grades 8-11, particularly those in Miami who don't have ready access to coding courses with differentiated instruction.

To learn more about Kickstart, click here.

The Congressional App Challenge will invite winners from across the country to showcase their apps to the Members of Congress and members of the tech community at #HouseOfCode, a reception on Capitol Hill to be held in April 2019. Their work is eligible to be featured for one year on the permanent display in the U.S. Capitol Building and on the House.gov website. Each winning student will also be awarded $250 in Amazon Web Service credits, generously donated by Amazon Web Services.

The group will also have an opportunity to participate in workshops and network with STEM advocates who oversee mentor programs with companies such as Apple, Google, Verizon, Amazon Web Services, Capital One and PayPal.

In addition to winning the FL-27 Challenge, Gulliver students swept the top three spots. Riana Doctor '22 and Qingqi Yuan '22 took second place for WitchWhich, an app that helps users who are learning English to differentiate between similar words, and David Krajewski '21, Gaetan Almela '19 and Robert Cancio '19 took third for Möbius ML, an app that uses artificial intelligence to detect facial changes of wheelchair-bound users and facilitate mobility.

A list of all 2018 Congressional App Challenge winners can be found at CongressionalAppChallenge.us.