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Case Announces 2021 Winners Of Congressional App Challenge Contest

(Honolulu, HI) – Congressman Ed Case (HI-01) today announced the winners of his 2021 Congressional App Challenge for Hawai‘i’s First Congressional District at a virtual reception via Zoom with the winning students.

“The Challenge is a great opportunity for our local students to focus their skills and creativity on developing, testing and analyzing new applications for real-world use,” said Case. 

“And results of this year’s Challenge prove once again that they have the skill set, imagination and resolve to compete against the best of our young people nationwide in science, technology, engineering and math, along with the potential to lead the next generations of computer science and technology.” 

The winner for Hawaii’s First Congressional District:

1st Place – Jaylen Rabago, Kaden Hieger, Aureanna Inay, & Zaydi Willis of DreamHouse ‘Ewa Beach, a public charter school

Grade: 8

Instructor: Ms. Cerina Epple

App: Nani


Summary, according to the creators:

“Our app is called Nani (Nani means beautiful in Hawaiian). Nani is a dress-up game that can be played on a computer and is created for young children to play. It encourages Hawaiian keiki (kids) to connect with their culture in a fun way. We wanted the app to show underrepresented kids (i.e. Hawaiian kids) that their culture is beautiful. In the game, the user is prompted to dress up a character in traditional Hula attire according to a hint, like "yellow hibiscus" or "orange sunset". The user earns kalo (Hawaiian plant) when they dress the character correctly. Our app promotes diversity and cultural exploration. It teaches kids about Hawaiian culture and gives Hawaiian children an opportunity to see themselves represented in an app.”

“When we were coming up with ideas for our app, we knew that we wanted the main idea to be around mental health. During our design-thinking process, we recognized that a huge component of mental health well-being in Hawai'i has to do with being connected to our culture. Hawaiian children are using social media and apps at a really young age these days and are exposed to mainly Western beauty standards and culture. We decided it's time for Hawaiian children to see themselves represented in an app. This is why we created Nani—a dress-up game about that connects kids to the Hawaiian cultural tradition of Hula. We hope kids have fun playing this app, and that the app prevents important practices such as Hula from dying out.”

The Congressional App Challenge is an official national initiative of the U.S. House of Representatives, in which Members of Congress host contests in their districts for middle and high school students.

The Challenge encourages students to learn code and inspires them to pursue careers in computer science.

Students may use any programming language and the app can be on any platform (web app, desktop/PC app, a web browser extension, mobile app, etc.). The app can be about any topic, but it must be original.

An application is a type of software that allows a person to perform specific tasks.  Applications for desktop or laptop computers are sometimes called desktop applications, while those for mobile devices are called mobile apps.