Bosque Students Win Congressional App Challenge

Congratulations to Bosque students—Cas ‘20, Ian ‘20, and Silas’21—for earning 1st place in the 2019 Congressional App Challenge (CAC) in our district! 

From the competition’s website, “The Congressional App Challenge is the most prestigious prize in student computer science.” The goal of the challenge is “to inspire students from every corner of the country to explore STEM, coding, and computer science through hands-on practice.” The challenge takes place once a year and is district-specific. One of the honors of winning includes U.S congressional representatives publicly recognizing their district’s winning team. Winning apps may also be put on display in the U.S Capitol building for a whole year.

Each year, Mr. Fike incorporates the Congressional App Challenge into the course curriculum for his second-year coding class students. Competing teams can only consist of three members, so it worked out well that Cas, Ian, and Silas were the only second-year students in Mr. Fike’s class. Together, the trio made an app called “CalculEats,” an app that calculates the tip and the tax of a meal at a restaurant. “It also has some basic calculator functions too,” said Silas. Check out the video the team created for their app submission.

Mr. Fike shared, “They’ve done a really, really great job this year coming up with not only a great idea, but some programming that works very well.”

“The way we coded it, we used Android Studio,” Ian explained, “which is the coding software that a lot of professional app developers use.” Cas added, “And we used a programming language called Java.”

“I feel pretty happy because we took on a language that we all have limited experience with and used a new system. None of us had used Android Studios before. Everything was new,” said Cas. “I think it’s pretty good. It’s simple but works well,” added Silas.

The team worked hard and was able to meet every crucial deadline for the app challenge. They weren’t exactly sure what the prize would be when they first joined the competition, but they were determined to win anyway. The students were pleasantly surprised when they heard Congresswoman Deb Haaland would be honoring their winning app in person. Congresswoman Haaland came to Bosque campus on the morning of January 21 to celebrate the team’s success. She congratulated the team for creating an app that was “innovative and practical.” Read the press release from her office!

Mr. Fike stated, “This is my fourth year doing this, and this is the most successful we’ve been in the challenge. It has a lot to do with the hard work these young men did over the last number of months in preparation for this challenge.”

Silas, Cas, and Ian, all expressed how none of this would have been possible without Mr. Fike and his coding class. They each also conveyed their interest in continuing to study computer science and coding.

“Before taking Mr. Fike’s coding class, I truly knew nothing about coding. Mr. Fike really helped me develop a love for coding that I never really knew I had. Ever since taking the coding class, I’ve had a passion for technology and coding,” expressed Ian. “It has given me an interest in doing computer science or computer engineering.”

So far, the app has only run on a phone emulator on the computer. The trio is working on getting the app working on a smartphone soon. Stay tuned! 

Watch KOB’s coverage of the exciting news and of Congresswoman Deb Haaland’s visit!