Virtual Reality App Wins 2017 Congressional App Challenge in Florida’s 25th District

 Diego Landaeta and Diego Mansilla, students of Ronald Reagan High School were the creators of the winning application.


Over 4,100 students across the nation signed up to participate in 2017 Congressional App Challenge.


190 Members of the U.S. House of Representatives announced the winners of the 2017 Congressional App Challenge on Last Tuesday, January 30. Over the last four months, thousands of students coded original apps as part of district-wide competitions hosted by Members of the House.

The Congressional App Challenge aims to engage students in coding and computer science. In all, 190 Congressional districts across 42 states hosted app challenges for their student constituents. Congressional participation was widespread and remarkably bipartisan.

The office of Representative Mario Diaz-Balart announced that the winner of the 2017 Congressional App Challenge for Florida’s 25th District is VRExperience, an app created by students Diego Landaeta and Diego Mansilla. This team attends Ronald W. Reagan Doral Senior High School in Doral, Florida.

Diego Landaeta and Diego Mansilla from Ronald Reagan High School in Doral with Congressman Diaz-Balart and teacher Jamie Gant).

They created simple walking simulator app throughout a pleasant forest. They decided to create this app so that people of all ages could get involved on various topics with the help of simulation. “With this app, we are trying to open the eye of discovery in science, history and medicine through simulations of real life scenarios”, they proclaimed.

The team used the Unity Engine and coded the app with C#. The app was highly praised by the judges, an independent panel of local technology and STEM leaders, who rated the submissions anonymously based on a point system.

Over 4,100 students participated in the 14-week regional competitions. They submitted over 1,270 original student-created apps, a 96% growth in number of apps from last year’s Challenge. The rest of the winners are listed online at

The Congressman also recognized the teams whose apps received the second- and third-highest points in the overall ranking. The winner and runner-ups are as follows:

1st Place: “VRExperience” created by Diego Landaeta and Diego Mansilla from Ronald Reagan High School in Doral (pictured with Congressman Diaz-Balart and teacher Jamie Gant)

2nd Place: “Plant Dex” created by Emilio de Leon, Ted Bliss, Hadrian Gonzalez, and Vanessa Tascon from Jose Marti MAST 6-12 Academy in Hialeah (pictured with Congressman Diaz-Balart), described as “a virtual tour of our school’s native arboretum” to engage and educate users about native tree species.

3rd Place (tied): “Chord Theory” created by Claire Winogrodzki from Naples High School in Naples, which aims to “to help musicians practice and memorize the notes that make up different chords.”

3rd Place (tied): “Dynamic Gestures” created by Anirudh Rahul from Doral Academy in Doral, which aims to “make navigating your Android device both quicker and easier by using a small set of simple gestures that still bring lots of flexibility.”

The Congressional App Challenge (CAC) will invite winners from across the country to showcase their apps to the Members of Congress and members of the tech community at #HouseOfCode, a reception on Capitol Hill to be held in April 2018. Their work is eligible to be featured for one year on the permanent display in the U.S. Capitol Building and on the website. Each winning student will also be awarded $250 in Amazon Web Service credits, generously donated by Amazon Web Services.

The CAC is an official initiative of the U.S. House of Representatives, managed by the Internet Education Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.  It was first established by the Congressional Internet Caucus in 2014, and Co-Chairs Rep. Bob Goodlatte and Rep. Anna G. Eshoo spearheaded the effort. In 2017, the App Challenge had 193 successful App Challenges hosted by Members of Congress, nearly 4,000 student participants, and more than 1,200 original student-created apps submitted.





Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Send this to a friend