WASHINGTON, D.C.—A pair of Newton College & Career Academy (NCCA) students were among top winners in this year’s Congressional App Challenge.
Senior Kevin Wadsworth of Covington was the winner of the competition in the 4th Congressional District that includes part of Newton and three other counties, U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson announced.
Joshua Moreland was a runner-up in the 10th Congressional District part of the 2022 Congressional App Challenge, U.S. Rep. Jody Hice announced.
Moreland finished second behind a trio of North Oconee High School students in the 24-county district that includes part of Newton.
The Congressional App Challenge was created by Congress in 2013 to encourage innovation and engagement in coding, computer science and STEM education.
It is an annual competition showcasing the value of computer science and STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics) education by encouraging students to learn how to code through the creation of their own apps.
Newton County Schools Superintendent Samantha Fuhrey said, “I am thrilled that Kevin and Joshua participated in the competition and incredibly proud that they represented Newton College and Career Academy and our school system so well!
“The fact that they have been selected first and second place respectively is extraordinary. Congratulations to Kevin and Joshua and the teachers and families who supported them!”
NCCA computer teacher Maureen Ryan, who encouraged Wadsworth to compete, said, “Everyone at Newton College and Career Academy, and the Newton County School System, are extremely proud of Kevin’s success in the 2022 Congressional App Challenge.
“Kevin took inspiration from a moment of frustration and turned it into something witty and wonderful. That’s something to be proud of and an example we can all learn from.
“I am very fortunate to work with Kevin and all the many inspiring associates at NCCA as they learn and lead us to a better tomorrow.”
Hice, R-Greensboro, said he was “specifically honored to recognize the hard work and ingenuity” of the winning team and Moreland.
“I hope all of you continue to code and keep up the impressive work!” Hice said.
Johnson, D-Stonecrest, said science and technology “are transforming our world and I’m proud of the students who go above and beyond their school’s curriculum and other everyday tasks to compete in the challenge.”
“The app challenge allows us to showcase some of the 4th Congressional District’s brightest young minds as they take on cutting-edge technology that is becoming an increasing part of all our lives,” Johnson said.
Wadsworth’s winning app, “The Vent Box,” was created using Java Script and Block Code.
The 17-year-old student designed it to be an app for all students that need to vent out any emotions and frustrations and get help for any type of feelings they are dealing with.
“My main inspiration to create this app was my own personal journey,” he said.
“My own problems with emotions inspired me to create this app for myself and for others who may have similar obstacles to face,” said Wadsworth, who is also a member of the school’s Embedded Computing class.
“The Vent box includes resources to help you calm down when you’re feeling anxious, angry, depressed, and/or stressed. The vent box also offers information on different safety hotlines to use if you’re feeling irrational at a certain moment.”
Students were judged on the following criteria: Quality of the idea, including creativity and originality; Implementation of the idea, including user experience and design; and the ability to demonstrate their coding and programming skills.
The judges for this year’s competition included Jason Freeman, professor of Music at Georgia Tech and chair of Georgia Tech’s School of Music; Elaine Bryan, President & CEO of Global Education Consultants Group and Head Education Partner for Microsoft’s STEM program for high school and middle school students; and Kamal Carter, former NIH Research Fellow and current education partner with NASA and the Fernbank Science Center.
Carter is also president and founder of “Step Ahead Scholar.”
Officially launched by the U.S. House of Representatives in 2015, the nationwide effort allows students to compete against their peers by creating an application (app), or game for mobile phones, tablets, or computer devices.
The challenge is designed to promote innovation and engagement in coding and computer science.
Wadsworth will receive an invitation to Capitol Hill to demonstrate his app at the annual #HouseOfCode celebration, the most prestigious demo day in student STEM.
Winning students see their apps displayed in the U.S. Capitol Building, meet their representatives, and connect with other coders from around the country.
The winning apps can be seen at https://www.congressionalappchallenge.us/ and on http://House.gov.
Johnson is also working on additional ways to celebrate Kevin Wadsworth and his app in the New Year.
The winning app, “The Vent Box,” can be seen at: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1p7mWjk-34bMffVOzuwXGxdCG8D8pEFoC/view.