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Congressman John Ratcliffe

Representing the 4th District of Texas

Rep. Ratcliffe announces Rockwall-Heath students as 2017 Congressional App Challenge winners

December 1, 2017
Press Release

ROCKWALL – Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-Texas) announced today a team of Rockwall-Heath High School students as the winners of the 2017 Congressional App Challenge for Texas’ 4th District.

The winning team included Mikey Bess, Kyle Jackson, Jonathan Payne Jr. and Thomas Starnes, who worked together to create an app called “Iron Clad Cooking Competition.”

“I’d like to congratulate Mikey, Kyle, Jonathan and Thomas for winning this year’s Congressional App Challenge in our district and encourage them to continue pursuing their interest in computer science and app design,” Ratcliffe said.

“As a cybersecurity chairman in Congress, I often talk about the importance of building our cyber workforce – and the work that went into creating the Iron Clad Cooking Competition app is exactly the type of skillset we’re trying to develop in young folks all across the country.” 

The app is a video game that was made for entertainment purposes and is geared toward a broad audience. It was designed using an Unreal Engine blueprint editor and C++ programming. It is a 2D platform game with a heavy emphasis on maneuverability.

The game features a chef who navigates a food-themed course that was originally drawn by hand, then traced and animated digitally on Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. It also features a custom 20-Century jazz-themed soundtrack that was produced on MuseScore.

The Congressional App Challenge is a prestigious national competition that engages students’ creativity and encourages their participation in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education fields.

High school students in each congressional district across the country are invited to compete by creating and exhibiting their software application, or “app,” for mobile, tablet, or computer devices on a platform of their choice.