Hermiston HS students win 2016 Congressional App Challenge - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Hermiston HS students win 2016 Congressional App Challenge

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HERMISTON, OR – Three Hermiston High School students recently received notification from Congressman Greg Walden’s office that they were winners of the 2016 Congressional App Challenge for Oregon’s District 2. Computer science students Jordan Liebe, Courtney Cash, and Marvin Hozi developed a “Touch and Talk” Chrome App with the assistance of Robert Theriault, their computer science teacher, during an Intervention & Exploration period.

The need for the application arose from the Hermiston School District Special Programs Department, where staff were looking for ways to give non-verbal students a way to communicate.

The HHS students coded an application that allows students to “say” common phrases used at school such as answers (1-4, A-D, true/false) and other requests such as “may I have a pencil,” simply by clicking/touching a button. The team first built a web page, but there was a delay for each word as it was downloaded. The Chrome App does not have any delay. The student-created application can be used with the Makey Makey’s were recently purchased by the special education teachers, thanks to a grant received through the Hermiston Education Foundation.

Over the last four months, thousands of students coded original apps as part of a congressional district-wide competition, hosted by members of the House of Representatives. Over 2,150 students participated in the 15-week regional competition, and 650 original student-created apps were submitted from 123 Congressional Districts.

Liebe, Cash, and Hozi, as well as other Congressional App Challenge winners, have been invited to showcase their app to the members of Congress and members of the tech community at #HouseOfCode, a Washington, D.C., based reception in April 2017. The students’ work will be featured for one year on permanent display in the U.S. Capitol Building and on the House.gov website. Winning students will also be awarded a portion of $50,000 in credits, donated by Amazon web services.