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Manhattan Beach Brothers Win Top Prize in Congressional App Challenge

Dec 10, 2020 11:29AM ● By Jeanne Fratello

Dylan (15), left, and Winston (14) Iskandar

Two Manhattan Beach boys have won the local congressional district's Congressional App Challenge for their app linking volunteer grocery shoppers with at-risk individuals.

Dylan and Winston Iskandar created “GroceryBuddies,” a Web, iOS, and Android application that connects high school/university volunteers with at-risk individuals to help deliver groceries and run errands. They were inspired to create this app because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The challenge, hosted by Congressman Ted W. Lieu, drew a total of 11 apps from 16 students from 10 area high schools.

By winning the competition, the Iskandar brothers will have their app featured in a display at the U.S. Capitol Building, and they will be invited to a "House of Code" reception in Washington D.C. to demonstrate their app and see other winning apps from around the country.

GroceryBuddies App

Dylan (age 15, Mira Costa High School), and Winston (age 14, Chadwick School) Iskandar said they were driven to create the app as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

They had first-hand experience with the effects of the pandemic when one of their close relatives caught COVID-19 after a routine grocery run. This inspired them to create an application that would protect at-risk individuals or those who are most vulnerable from situations where they might be exposed to the virus.

Second, they learned that many small businesses were suffering due to the lack of customers and traffic. This led them to focus the app on helping to promote local and family-owned businesses.

"The judges believe that this is a unique idea that solves a clear problem," said Lieu as he proclaimed GroceryBuddies the winner of the competition. "The judges also loved the community and volunteer aspect of this app, as compared to Instacart."

Congressional App Challenge

The Congressional App Challenge, a district-by-district competition aimed at encouraging U.S. high school students to learn how to code by creating their own applications, is open to the middle and high school students who either reside or attend school in that congressional district.

The 33rd Congressional District's Congressional App Challenge is now in its fifth year.

“As a 'recovering' computer science major, I am inspired by all these students who have committed themselves to creating these innovative apps,” said Lieu in a statement. “My district sees growth every year in the number of submissions we receive. I am proud to represent a district that is the home to Silicon Beach, as well as Space and Missile Systems Center and UCLA, which emphasize the importance of STEM innovation and education."

The winners of the 2020 Congressional App Challenge for the 33rd Congressional District incuded:

  • 1st Place: “GroceryBuddies”, submitted by Dylan and Winston Iskandar – Mira Costa High School and Chadwick School
  • 2nd Place: “Ideos”, submitted by Jake and Kate North – Stanford Online High School
  • 3rd Place: “MyChemistry”, submitted by Rachel Fox – Agoura High School (Agoura Hills)
  • Honorable Mention: “MaskCheck”, submitted by Jayden Bulexa – Beverly Hills High School

Judges for the challenge included:

  • William Goodin, Industry Relations Coordinator at UCLA Electrical and Computer Engineering Department
  • Marc Fischer, CEO at Dogtown Media(Venice)
  • Howard Stahl, Department Chair for Computer Science & Information Systems at Santa Monica College
Videos of the app presentation and the awards announcement are posted below.

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