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Hermiston High School computer science teacher Robert Theriault, left, with the winners of the 2021 Congressional App Challenge: Zeferino Araiza, Rami Hozi, Blake Wickers and Cordell Patrick.

HERMISTON — Four Hermiston High School students recently won the 2021 Congressional App Challenge for Oregon’s District 2.

The office of Rep. Cliff Bentz, R-Ontario, notified students Rami Hozi, Cordell Patrick, Blake Wickers and Zeferino Araiza of their award. The Hermiston students are studying computer science.

The students created the Emergency App, which allows anyone, at any time, to access emergency services such as phone numbers, location, contacts and a map.

The premise stemmed from an idea to give people an easy and convenient way to access some of the most popular safety and emergency services all in one app. Using the app, a person can dial any number from the provided list of emergency numbers. The user can get an exact location with a button click, showing data such as latitude, longitude and address, regardless of location. Also, it is possible, through the app, to connect with emergency contacts and access a map that includes nearby emergency locations.

“The Emergency App has been in the works for a long time,” said Robert Theriault, HHS computer science teacher. “The students thought of the app last year and have been planning the best way to implement the app. It was decided early on that they wanted it on both Android and iOS so a majority of mobile users could utilize the app. However, this meant that they needed to learn two interfaces to get both systems working. It was one of the largest endeavors I have seen in the last six years at Hermiston High School.”

The students are invited to attend the House of Code next spring.

The Congressional App Challenge mission is to inspire, include and innovate efforts around STEM, coding and computer science education.

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