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  • Peter Osborne

Do you know a student who's interested in coding and computers?

RMSP Members are supporting an innovative challenge for middle school and high school students to grow interest in coding and computer technology. The national Congressional App Challenge (CAC) is now accepting registrants for the 2021 competition.

Rep. Young Kim

“The Congressional App Challenge has served as a fun and innovative way for students to be exposed to computer science and coding concepts, which in turn helps create opportunities for all students, grow our workforce, strengthen our future economy and boost U.S. competitiveness abroad. This is more important than ever as we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Rep. Young Kim (CA-39), one of the competition’s co-chairs. “I look forward to seeing the apps created by talented students across California’s 39th District and the nation, and I’ll continue to do all I can to support educational opportunities for our students.”

Students may compete as individuals or in teams of up to four. They can register by visiting the Congressional App Challenge website at: and visit the “Students” section. Congressional App Challenge applications can be submitted through November 1, 2021 at 11:00am CT. For all rules and guidelines, please click here.

The CAC accepts computer programs (or apps) written in any programming language (C, C++, JavaScript, Python, Ruby, “block code,” etc.), for any platform (desktop/PC, web, mobile, etc.). Students may register as individuals or as teams of up to four students.

Submissions will be scored by panel of judges in each participating district, using the following criteria:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of computer programming skills

  • Quality of the idea

  • Implementation of the idea

Winners from each congressional district will be selected by a panel of local judges and honored by their congressperson. The winning app is eligible to be featured on display in the United States Capitol building, on, and on the Congressional App Challenge website.

The Congressional App Challenge was created because Congress recognized that STEM skills, particularly those surrounding coding and computer science, are essential for America’s continued economic growth and technological innovation. By encouraging and recognizing our nation’s young programming talent, Congress hopes to shine a light on the growing importance of these skills. The Congressional App Challenge is sponsored by the Internet Education Foundation.

RMSP Member Rep. Dusty Johnson (SD-AL) wrote a terrific column about the Challenge:

Rep. Dusty Johnson

Some of my favorite memories growing up was when school closed for a snow day. But watching the snow pile up outside while waiting for news from the Pierre school district was agonizing as a young kid.

Thanks to Samyok Nepal, a student from Brookings High School, he and his fellow classmates do not have to wait with the same anticipation.

That’s because Samyok designed Bobcat Notify, an app to alert students of snow days.

Samyok won last year’s Congressional App Challenge for South Dakota. I was truly impressed by the innovative ideas and caliber of app designs we received from students like Samyok during our first annual competition.

This week, my office launched our second annual App Challenge, which is open to all middle and high school students. You don’t have to be an expert coder to join the competition – we are looking for students of all skill levels, regardless of coding experience.

The App Challenge is a fun opportunity for young people to learn coding and pique their interest in pursuing a STEM-related career.

STEM is a rapidly growing field that pays well. But more importantly, our collective success in STEM is imperative to our prosperity as a nation in the future. For the United States to keep its competitive edge over China, we must focus on bridging the skills gap and encouraging more young people to get involved in STEM.

As someone who comes from a background in telecommunications, I am passionate about inspiring the next generation of innovators and I look forward to seeing the array of talent and creativity from students across South Dakota.

Students interested in participating must submit their app through the Congressional App Challenge website by November 1st.

Ready, set, code!


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