Richwoods High students build an app for Wildlife Prairie Park, take top prize in district challenge


PEORIA, Ill.– Each year Congressional districts across the country hold app challenges to inspire, include and innovate efforts around STEM, coding and computer science.

Monday’s victory marks the second time in the last three years that Richwoods students in AppsCo have taken home top prize for the 18th Congressional District, under the guidance of AppsCo CEO and Founder Alexis Khazzam and Vice President Brian Michael.

The AppsCo students from Richwoods who received the recognition Monday are:

·       Cassidy Miles-Coleman

·       Katrina Crawford

·       Aditi Tripathi

·       Brianna Hill

·       Rachel Bousek

AppsCo, which is an entrepreneurial curriculum currently at Richwoods and Manual and set to debut at Peoria High next year, aligns with Peoria Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat’s vision of providing more experiential and work-based learning opportunities for students to develop real-world skills, collaborate in groups on projects and, in some cases, earn a paycheck.

“We’re extremely proud of the kids at Richwoods,” said Brett Elliot, Principal | Richwoods High School. “They’re innovative and progressive. AppsCo has been an amazing addition to Richwoods High School. That’ll be the second time in three years they’ve won this honor so we’re really grateful and we’re so proud of our students.”

The five women built an app for Wildlife Prarie Park. It allows visitors to find coupons, use GPS, access park amenities, push notifications and more.

The competition was judged by three faculty members from 18th district universities, including Bradley University, Western Illinois University, and Illinois State University.

“We’re so proud that Wildlife [Prairie Park] is a part of this whole operation,” said Elliot. “To have a local affiliate, to have something that the Peoria area and the state has been trying to save for years and to team up with them is a great honor for us as Richwoods High School and our students and also a great honor for the Peoria area.

Across the nation, this year’s congressional app challenge had the highest participation rate since it started in 2013. The winning students will now move on to the national competition, where presentations will be made to a group of Congress members in Washington D.C. in early 2020.

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