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Lafayette students win Congressional App contest - again!

Posted at 3:51 PM, Dec 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-01 20:28:28-05

Three Lafayette students have won the 2020 Congressional App Challenge for Louisiana’s 3rd District.

It's the second year in a row that a team of Lafayette students won the programming challenge.

This year's winners are Zarie Shelvin, Damarkus Webster, Dontaye Washington and Rena Celestine. The students attend Lafayette High, Lafayette Renaissance Charter Academy, David Thibodaux STEM Magnet Academy Edward J. Sam Accelerated School respectively.

Their team is supported by New Vision Leadership Foundation of Acadiana, a group that seeks to provide a unique space for youth to grow through education, exposure, and empowerment.

The foundation's mission is achieved by linking educational instruction with hands-on experiences, college and job readiness, and building leadership skills for future success.

The team’s app titled “Recovr” is designed to connect victims of natural disasters with essential resources in their community.The “Recovr” app will be featured in an exhibition at the U.S. Capitol.

Usually, the winning students participate in an annual “House of Code” reception, which features winning teams from across the country, but that event has been canceled because of COVID, organizers say.

“Congratulations to Zarie, Damarkus, Dontaye and Rena on their winning app," said U.S. Rep. Clay Higgins, who represents District 3. "They were able to design an app to help natural disaster victims find crucial resources in their community. This was a tremendous need following Hurricanes Laura and Delta. The students recognized this challenge and used their coding skills to provide a solution."

The U.S. House of Representatives officially launched the Challenge in 2015 to help inspire innovation and learning in computer science and coding.

The Challenge is a nationwide effort that allows students to compete against their peers by creating an application or "app" for mobile, tablet, or computer devices.

Student teams compete against each other by congressional district, and the winning apps are showcased at the U.S. Capitol each year.