The Student News Site of MAST Academy

The Beacon

The Student Newspaper of MAST Academy, since 1991.
The Student News Site of MAST Academy

The Beacon

The Beacon

Senior Issue 2024
June 5, 2024

MAST students win 2023 Congressional App Challenge

Three MAST Academy Seniors won the 2023 Congressional App Challenge

On December 8th, MAST Academy seniors Kush Mirchandani, Heidi Shultz, and Alejandro Videz won the Congressional App Challenge (CAC) for the 27th District of Florida.

The CAC is a district-by-district competition for middle and high schoolers interested in computer science. Student participants are to build an app using any coding language on any platform, alone or in a team.

The competition is a congressional effort “to foster an appreciation for computer science and STEM” in youth across the United States and is sponsored by the Internet Education Foundation. María Elvira Salazar represents District 27 of Florida, which encompasses MAST Academy.

Ignis, the mobile app created by MAST’s team, is a wildfire safety app that allows users to be quickly notified of and track possible fire risks in an area.

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“The app is mostly geared towards homeowners, older people, and anyone who lives in a fire-prone area,” developer and senior Heidi Shultz said.

Ignis was more then just a project for developer Heidi Shultz.

“When I was seven, we went through a wildfire, and even since then I was interested in wildfires, and recently I wanted to take up and make a change and help protect people,” Shultz stated.

When asked about the app’s development, developer and senior Kush Mirchandani shared the amount of dedication the team had to the project — including dozens of hours spent coding at a fast-casual restaurant.

“We did work, like, twelve-hour Panera shifts, and, like, we worked a bunch on it from design, prototyping, all the way to the complete product, in addition to thinking about the future of the app,” Mirchandani explained.

It too more than a year for the team to design Ignis.

“It feels great, we put a lot of work into it, and our hard work paid off,” developer and senior Alejandro Vides stated when asked about winning the competition.

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About the Contributor
Panni Peschke
Panni Peschke, Design Editor

Panni Peschke is a senior at MAST Academy. A Miami native, her parents hail from Germany and Colombia, giving her an international background and a grasp on three languages.

Panni has been previously published in MAST’s literary magazine, Spilt Milk, and joined The Beacon to exercise her writing abilities. She aims to publish a healthy mix between sociopolitical issues and local experiences for her fellow students to enjoy.

In her spare time, Panni enjoys filling her parent’s counter, cabinet, and oven space with different materials for her baking obsession.

To complement her creative interests, Panni aims to study business to create a balance between arts and sciences.

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