High school students win Congressional App Challenge

High School Students win Congressional App Challenge

CROSS COUNTY, Ark. (KAIT) - A few high school students made an app that will be particularly useful during the pandemic. They also won a competition out of their district, sponsored by the U.S. House of Representatives.

Three Cross County High School Students beat the odds and won the Congressional App Challenge with no computer science training.

Macie McCommon, Ciara Stephens, and Lexi Jarrett created an app that allows you to virtually walk through the Parkin Archeological State Park.

Congratulations to EAST students Macie, Ciara, and Lexi for winning the 2020 Congressional App Challenge! #proudTBirds #EAST

Posted by Cross County School District on Tuesday, January 12, 2021

They say the app comes at a perfect time. The pandemic has made it harder to visit.

“Every school field trip that you go on, especially in the Wynne, Cross County area, you’re going to the Parkin Archeological Center, and this year, because of that, since COVID shut it down, they haven’t been able to do that,” said Jarrett.

McCommon says they did research on other parks and how they stayed relevant during the pandemic.

“We started looking things up and trying to find how we could do this, and we saw that they have 360 tours to stay relevant, so we decided to make a 360 tour,” said McCommon.

The Congressional App Challenge encourages kids to explore computer science and STEM, then make an original app.

Out of the five years Cross County High has competed, they have won four.

This is the first time a group of all freshmen and all-females have won.

The girls have never had any computer science training. They put their heads together and completed the project within two and a half weeks.

“It can benefit the community, which is a really great thing to know. It’s a point for me. I’ve really been able to get more in touch with the museum and the people there, and I’ve learned a lot also,” said Stephens.

Director of Technology Jason Blake says that he cannot be more proud of his students.

They compete with many big schools, and for a small high school, it’s a huge win.

He says the win comes at a much-needed time.

“Our students needed a win. I mean, I needed a win, too. I’m not going to lie. This has been one of those years that there’s not been a lot of positives coming through, so to get that call and say hey ya’ll created something in the worst of times, and it’s good. It was really validating,” said Blake.

To view the app, click here.

To learn more about the Congressional App Challenge, click here.

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