Villarmero, Bunts-Anderson win app contest


Daniel Villarmero and Chenoa Bunts-Anderson have been named winners of the Northern Mariana Islands 2017 Congressional App Competition. (Contributed Photo)

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Daniel Villarmero and Chenoa Bunts-Anderson of Marianas High School have been named the district-level winners of the 2017 Congressional App Challenge.

The Villarmero and Bunts-Anderson team bested 12 other submissions in the Northern Mariana’s district-level competition, according to Delegate Gregorio Kilili C. Sablan.

“All of this year’s entries to the app challenge were very creative and innovative—a great showing for the promise of STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) education in the Northern Marianas,” Sablan said. “Every one of the students who dreamed up a concept and programmed an app can be proud of their work.”

Selection of the winning entry was made by judges Renee Bochman of the tech company LevelTrigger and Marc Boumedine of the University of the Virgin Islands.

Villarmero and Bunts-Anderson’s app, called “The Student Companion,” is Web-based and gives students a set of tools to help with their studies. Tools include a task manager with reminders, and a relaxation page that utilizes calming images and soothing music to help students rest during study breaks.

The two MHS seniors worked as a team on “The Student Companion,” as did most of the 22 students who entered their work in the app challenge.

Villarmero and Bunts-Anderson will now receive national recognition and their app will be eligible for display in the U.S. Capitol.

Along with winners of the app challenge from across the country, the Marianas team will also be invited to attend the House of Code reception, scheduled for early spring next year in Washington, D.C., where they will be honored for their work.

Also receiving notable mentions: in second place, The Thought Bubble by Joanie Paraiso of Mount Carmel School, is an app that assists creative writers with writing tips and story ideas. In third place, Pocket Homework by Tawnie Manibusan and Cassidy Torres of Mount Carmel School, is an assignments tracking application specifically designed for student’s smartphones.

This is the third year that Marianas students have accepted Sablani’s invitation to take the Congressional App Challenge. The competition is open to all high school, middle school, and elementary students and is intended to encourage student creativity and participation in the STEM fields. Students may enter apps for a variety of platforms, such as Web browsers, smartphones, or desktop and laptop computers. (PR)

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