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The Journals are the premier publications for high-quality, hyperlocal news and advertising in Monmouth County, New Jersey

Jan 13, 2021

2020 Congressional App Challenge Winners Announced

On Dec. 18, Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) announced the winners of the New Jersey Fourth Congressional District Congressional App Challenge (CAC), part of a nationwide competition for middle and high school students to showcase their software app-developing skills and teamwork. The event coincided with Computer Science Education Week (CSEdWeek), held Dec. 7 through 13.

Twenty-nine students from Monmouth and Ocean Counties participated as teams and individuals to design nine apps. Communications High School, a Monmouth County Vocational School District career academy, swept all three top spots. The winning app, CollabraCart, was designed by Communications High School students Erin Hardiman, Melody Lin and Jacob Rosegarten. The “CollabraCart,” helps to match people who are struggling to purchase groceries with individuals who are seeking to donate their time and/or money to help them.

The second-place app, “Green Garden,” was designed by Brigid McCarthy, Abi Cohen and Rina Peshori, of Holmdel. The app works to aid the conservation of at-risk insect species through education and entertainment. Users create and care for their own virtual garden while learning how these efforts have the potential to help insect populations.

Third-place finisher, “Roomiez,” was designed by Nate Riehl, Ava Turner, of Middletown, and Jake Polvino, of Tinton Falls. Roomiez is an app that helps college students find roommates, using multiple choice questions and the ability to select interest tags in various categories. The app displays with similar interests, sorting by the closest match first.

Smith commended his panel of expert judges who scored the apps saying, “Thank you to the highly specialized, tech-savvy judges for their time and commitment to this competition. It wouldn’t be possible without them.”

The three-member volunteer panel of high-tech professionals were Debbie Smith (no relation to the congressman), the director of administration/director of information technology for the Office of the Standing Chapter 13 Trustee; Vincent DeTommaso, of Holmdel, an app designer for Viacom; and Stadi Sinclair, managing member of Code Ninjas in Red Bank.

This is Smith’s fifth year participating in the Congressional App Challenge, which Congress created in 2014 to encourage students to work with their peers to develop computer coding and software application skills. The challenge was created to foster science, technology, engineering and math skills among young students and emphasize their importance for the future especially in areas of the economy like cybersecurity, intellectual property and the app economy.

Middle and high school students from Smith’s Fourth Congressional District interested in participating in next year’s contest may contact Smith’s Freehold office at 732-780-3035 and visit