Med High Students Develop Award-Winning Apps Through Congressional App Challenge

Two Med High Students Develop Award-Winning Apps Through Congressional App Challenge
Posted on 12/13/2018
Med High students Alaina Garza, on left, and Victoria Garza, on right, standing in hallwayTwo students attending South Texas High School for Health Professions (Med High) in Mercedes, part of South Texas Independent School District, have been selected as district winners in the 2018 Congressional App Challenge (CAC).

Alaina Garza, a senior from Elsa, was named the winner for TX15, Rep. Vicente Gonzalez’ district, for her development of the app “Brain Tame,” which aims to help users who are experiencing episodes of anxiety calm down through the use of peaceful images, calming music and questions to encourage meditation and peace.

Alaina saw the challenge as an opportunity to help herself and other high school students struggling with anxiety over the college application process. When she found herself feeling overwhelmed, she resorted to apps for restoring a sense of peace, but she found a lack of apps to meet her needs. She decided to take on the challenge and create a solution to a very real issue for high school students. “I had a fun time creating Brain Tame, and am very grateful and humbled for being selected a district winner.”

Victoria Garza, a junior from Donna, was named the winner of TX34, Rep. Filemon Vela’s district, for her app “DailyWrite,” which includes 365 prompts for daily writing throughout the year, and archives the pieces for future reference.

She looked at the competition as an opportunity to help others who share a common passion. “Winning this app challenge was definitely unexpected. I am truly passionate about English, and so being able to create a winning app of something that I enjoy is something I take great pride in.”

The CAC, developed by members of the U.S. House of Representatives, aims to inspire, include, and innovate efforts around STEM, coding, and computer science education.

According to the CAC website, each year district-wide challenges are hosted for middle school and high school students from every corner of the nation, encouraging them to learn code and inspiring them to pursue related careers.

Students are challenged to create their own original apps for a chance to win. They can use any programming language (example: C, C++, JavaScript, Python, Ruby, “block code,” etc.) and any platform (PC, web, tablet, robot, mobile, etc.). There are also no limits on application theme or topic.

Each challenge is district-specific, with each U.S. Representative publicly recognizing his or her district’s winning individual or team. Winning apps may be put on display in the U.S. Capitol Building for one year, and additional prizes may be available.

For additional information, visit https://www.congressionalappchallenge.us.

South Texas High School for Health Professions (Med High) is one of six magnet schools in South Texas Independent School District. Founded in 1984, Med High has provided college and career preparation in the medical fields to students from Cameron, Hidalgo and Willacy counties for over 30 years. For additional information, visit http://www.stisd.net or call 956.565.2237.