Clear Springs Student Wins App Challenge

Clear Springs Student Wins U.S. Congressional App Challenge
Posted on 02/21/2020
Student Shows AppStanding out on college applications can be a daunting task for high school students on top of navigating their already stressful everyday lives.

Clear Springs High School Senior Xiaohan Liu strives to get involved wherever she can.

She is the Vice President of the Clear Springs choir, a marching leader for the Charger Band and was recently selected as a 2020 All-State member through the Texas Music Educators Association (TMEA). This honor allowed her to play alongside other musicians across the state for more than 30,000 people at the TMEA Convention.

When Liu heard of yet another way to put her best foot forward, she jumped at the opportunity.

At the start of the school year, Liu’s Computer Science teacher, Charles Wang told the class about the 2019 U.S. Congressional App Challenge, a nationwide contest established in 2013, which encourages middle and high school students to create an original software application or app.

The challenge aims to inspire students to engage in STEM-related fields.

“Even though I told them all about it. I think Xiaohan might have been the only one that actually took the time outside of class time to make another app all on her own,” said Wang.

Instead of submitting an app created through a class assignment, Liu started from scratch, modeling the app around her own real-life experiences.

“I speak Chinese at home and I’m learning Spanish at school and just being able to communicate and learn about a culture through the perspective of a foreign language is something valuable and I think it changes the whole idea, having this global perspective,” said Liu.

That idea is how the “LinguaLedo” app was born. The application is a game designed for kids that features interactive alphabets from Spanish to Arabic.

Despite putting in some time outside of class to develop the app, Liu didn’t think she would take home a prize, let alone win first place in the 14th U.S. Congressional District.

“It wasn’t surprising at all. She really polished the app and made it usual in a way for her,” Wang said. “She tried to solve a problem that she found in real life.”

Liu is now considering pursuing a career in the computer science field.

“It became something that I really started to get interested in,” she said. “I am truly passionate about math and it’s interesting for me to take courses that combine math and what’s in the real world. What’s coding the apps are algorithm and loops.”

Liu’s app is on display in the U.S. Capitol among other winners across the country. She will also receive $250 worth of Amazon Web Services credits and an invitation to the #HouseofCode Reception in Washington, D.C.
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