Hermiston High School Students Win 2018 Congressional App Challenge

Rogelio Lemus, left, and Ethan Orozco, juniors at Hermiston High School, created the winning app for Congressman Greg Walden’s 2018 App Challenge. (Contributed Photo)

Two Hermiston High School students have won the 2018 Congressional App Challenge for District 2.

U.S. Congressman Greg Walden (R-Hood River) announced today that HHS juniors Rogelio Lemus and Ethan Orozco won this year’s App Challenge.

The two students created an app using facial recognition technology to help find missing people. The app allows people to upload a photo of a missing person to compare the photo against a national database.

Lemus and Orozco named their app B.A.N.A.N.A  – Basic App to Notify Authorities of Non-Authorized Abduction. To watch the students demonstrate the app, visit YouTube.

Robert Theriault, Hermiston High School computer science teacher, said Rogelio and Ethan wanted to create an app to help people, not just a game to entertain.

“I was very impressed when I learned that Rogelio and Ethan chose a project that could be a tool in helping people find friends and loved ones who have been missing,” Theriault said. “This project showcases Rogelio and Ethan’s technical abilities and also demonstrates their compassion for the community.”

Walden phoned the two students at school to surprise them with the news.

“I applaud Rogelio and Ethan for their coding skills, their goal of helping people and their ability to communicate the usefulness of their app,” Walden said. “Rogelio and Ethan chose a worthy project. The Congressional App Challenge is an avenue for encouraging students to pursue careers in coding, math or science fields and I hope Rogelio and Ethan will do so.”

Rogelio and Ethan will be invited, along with their teacher, to attend a reception event called House of Code in Washington, D.C. in the spring for all app winners.

In 2016, HHS students Courtney Cash, Marvin Hozi and Jordan Liebe won the Congressional App Challenge for developing a “Touch and Talk” Chrome App. The application allowed students to “say” common phrases used at school by simply clicking/touching a button. The application could be used with the Makey Makey’s that special programs educators purchased through grants received from the Hermiston Education Foundation.

Walden encourages students from across Congressional District 2 to create and submit apps in the 2019 competition. Find more information at by clicking here.




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