DCSD student wins Congressional App Challenge
CASTLE ROCK – Brad Cooley, a junior at Douglas County High School, was recognized in Washington, D.C. this week by Congressman Ken Buck, after winning the Congressional App Challenge for the 4th Congressional District.
A total of 116 winners from across the country, each representing a different congressional district, were selected for the honor. Cooley finished in the top ten in the competition and was amongst a small group of honorees that were invited to present their apps during an event sponsored by Oracle on March 1.
Cooley had the opportunity, during the House of Code event, to visit with several of the other winners.
“It really shocked me. Wow, this is happening all across the nation,” Cooley said. “There are kids out there that are like-minded. We all have a passion for computer science. They were excited about what they were doing and how they could contribute to making things better for people.”
The annual challenge requires students to program an original smart phone application, encouraging the acquisition of skills in computer science and other STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) fields.
Cooley’s app, Crunch Time, allows users to input their wait time at restaurants so that other users can know how long they’ll be waiting in line for a table. The project, which began during an Economics class project, has been well received by restaurants here in Castle Rock, according to Cooley.
“They have been very happy with the reaction that they’re getting from customers,” he said. “When they get there, the customers are happy to know that the wait time was fairly close to what it said on the app.”
Cooley was impressed by the other students’ projects, including an app that provides users with a 3D model of DNA and one that helps to develop characters for writers.
“I think that was the purpose of app challenge, to get students to think outside the box, solve a problem and make it using new technology and skills that we have learned.”
Several major tech companies were at the event to see the apps and to meet their inventors.
“I talked to people from Microsoft, IBM, Apple, Oracle and Google,” Cooley said. “It was a bit like a recruiting fair; a chance for them to see the talent that is out there and where kids are going with their ideas.”
“If our nation is going to remain secure and prosperous, we will need some of the world’s top computer scientists and technology experts,” Congressman Ken Buck stated. “Brad is on his way to great things. I encourage him to keep up the good work and urge some of his peers to join him in studying a STEM field.”
While in Washington, Cooley and his dad had the opportunity to meet Congressman Ken Buck at his office. Additionally, Buck plans to honor Cooley with an entry in the congressional record and will send him a congratulatory letter.