December 29, 2020

Once again, a CGI-mentored student team has won the Congressional App Challenge for their congressional district, Louisiana’s Third.

The team’s app, called Recovr, connects people with resources in their area during natural disasters and their aftermath. The team members were Rena Celestine, Zarie Shelvin, Dontaye Washington and Damarkus Webster. CGI members Imaan Ouedraogo and Emily Ezell served as mentors, along with Vanessa Williams of community partner New Vision Leadership.

In their written comments, the judges said, “I like the simplified design of your application. This is a unique approach and really gives the app a lot of personality. Very cool idea and useful for every community."

Two other teams earned awards from CGI: Team Hope’s app Standout enables the reporting and prevention of bullying, and was named CGI Members’ Choice. The CGI judges also selected Team Gear Up’s translation app Sunara for the Innovation Award.

In total, five teams with CGI mentors participated from Louisiana’s 3rd Congressional district.

CGI celebrated teams, community partners, and mentors in a virtual closing ceremony on Dec. 11, where the winners received recognition from community and state leaders.

The 2020 competition was the sixth Congressional App Challenge since Congress passed the legislation that enables it and set the rules in 2015. The rules allow each member of the House of Representatives to host an officially-sanctioned competition in their respective districts each year, as long as the Congressional Internet Caucus requests it.

Republican Clay Higgins is the current representative for Louisiana’s Third Congressional District, which includes the city of Lafayette.