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NWECHS Student Wins 2nd Place in 2021 Congressional App Challenge
Posted on 02/14/2022
This is the image for the news article titled NWECHS Student Wins 2nd Place in 2021 Congressional App ChallengeCanutillo Independent School District’s Northwest Early College High School student won 2nd place in the 2021 Congressional App Challenge for his app that opens the door to fitness for beginners.

The office of Congresswoman Veronica Escobar received over a dozen submissions from across four middle and high schools within Texas’ 16th Congressional District with NWECHS junior, Christian Dees snagging the 2nd place spot for his app Fitness Planner.

Dees’ app introduces users to the world of fitness by learning the category certain exercises fall under and the muscles they work along with tips on how to do each exercise. Users can also create their own workouts using the included exercises within the app.

The aspiring developer was inspired by the myriad of social media posts and discussions surrounding the world of fitness. He saw the growing need for an informational based app that could also serve as a productivity tool to the end user.

“I noticed that confusion was one major issue within the world of exercise, so my idea was to create a resource that one could openly step into without previous knowledge and easily put together a workout plan while gaining information of what exactly they’re doing,” Dees said. “All in all, the app is fairly simple, but I think it’s the idea behind it that I like to keep alive and encourage; everyone starts somewhere. The app is a stepping stone for more novice gym attendees, such as myself, and strives to uphold an easy and educational welcome to exercises.”

Launched by the U.S. House of Representatives in 2015, the Congressional App Challenge is a national competition aimed to encourage middle and high school students to learn how to code by creating their own applications. The App Challenge is intended to highlight the value of computer science and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) education.

This year’s judges were Jonathan Childress from Microsoft, Nadia Karichev from the El Paso Community College (EPCC), Eduardo Seyffert from Blue Origin, and 2020 Congressional App Challenge Winner Jie Chen.

Receiving 2nd place recognition from experienced professionals in the computer science industry came as a surprise to Dees but was a rewarding experience that stood as a testament to his potential that motivated him to keep up his momentum.

“Upon receiving the message of my placement, I honestly realized that creating the app was more fun than struggle and with that I immediately started a new project,” Dees said. “I have found a new love for coding applications as I have the chance to program both the front end and back end of it through the user interface and the behind the scenes of what is going on. Overall, it was a great opportunity to compete in the Congressional App Competition and to meet the congresswoman. I hope they continue it so it can continue to inspire many others, as myself, to pursue a life in computer science.”