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Graves Announces 2018 Congressional App Challenge Winners

December 7, 2018
Press Release

Graves Announces 2018 Congressional App Challenge Winners


Baton Rouge, LA — This week, Congressman Garret Graves (South Louisiana) announced winners the 2018 Congressional App Challenge for Louisiana’s Sixth Congressional District. Graves and 221 other Members of Congress inspired students to pursue computer science in the fourth annual competition, the largest student computer science competition in America. Over the last four months, thousands of students coded original apps as part of district-wide competitions.

Mack Kemper and Christian Thompson of Catholic High School earned first place for creating Unite SMS: an app intended to improve school communication between administrators, parents, students and teachers.

“Our app’s goal is to make an easy to use communication system for schools that creates two way communication and accountability and also can be used for emergency situations,” said Kemper.

Brian Tsai, a senior from Baton Rouge High, came in second place with Urban Crisis, an app that consolidates and displays important information for use during an emergency.

The reality is that our entire lives are wrapped up in our smartphones and their capabilities. It is in incredible how these students can actually use these opportunities to use data and design apps to make communities safer and improve communications,” said Graves.

Third place went to Jeremy Worley and Mateo Rosas from Catholic High School for their Spend to Save app. Co-Honorable Mention went to Tre, Ross and JP from the Dunham School (app: Dunham Wellness) and Josh Harold and Jefferson Koonce from Catholic High School (app: Safe Pass).

On Monday, Graves visited Catholic High and Baton Rouge High to recognize the winners and participants from both schools.

This was the second year Graves hosted the Congressional App Challenge for Sixth District students, and his office received over 20 submissions from schools in East Baton Rouge, Ascension and West Baton Rouge parishes.

Technology is increasingly integrated into everything that happens in our district, state and country, and competitions like these are important for the future,” said Graves.

A panel of six judges selected this year’s winners:

  • Kristen Reeves, Executive Director of Louisiana Women in Technology
  • Joshua Duplechain,  Director of Communications,  LSU College of Engineering
  • Nathan Cotton, Past President of Louisiana Science Teacher Association
  • Charlie D’Agastino, Executive Director of LSU Innovation Park
  • Beth O’Quinn, Talent Manager, Louisiana Client Innovation Center at IBM Corporation
  • Dr. Vernon Dunn, Program Manager at the Louisiana Board of Regents.

The Congressional App Challenge aims to engage students in coding and computer science. All of the competitions are local and span 46 states and U.S. territories — in rural and urban districts alike. Congressional participation reached new horizons this year, including districts in Hawaii, Puerto Rico and Wyoming. Participating Members came from both sides of the aisle in near equal numbers, a testament to the bipartisan support for computer science and STEM in Congress.


The list of all 2018 national winners can be found here.