Hermiston students win app challenge

Contributed photoRogelio Lemus and Ethan Orozco, both Hermiston High School juniors, won the 2018 Congressional App Challenge for Oregon's 2nd District.

Two Hermiston students have created an app that may help locate missing people, and have been recognized by Congressman Greg Walden for their work.

Hermiston High School juniors Rogelio Lemus and Ethan Orozco created the “B.A.N.A.N.A” app, which stands for “Basic App to Notify Authorities of Non-Authorized Abductions.” A user can upload a photo of a person they suspect is missing, and the photo will be compared to a national databse of missing people, and will bring up a match if there is one. In a video demonstrating their app, the students uploaded a photo of a potentially missing person, and got a match. They then uploaded a photo of a person who is not suspected to be missing, and no match was brought up.

The app was the winner of the Congressional App Challenge for Oregon’s District 2, an annual competition for students in each congressional district to create and submit an app. Lemus and Orozco will be invited to a reception for winners in Washington, D.C. in the spring.

Their computer science teacher, Robert Theriault, praised the students’ innovation.

“Rogelio and Ethan wanted to create an app to help people, not just create a game to entertain,” Theriault said. “I was very impressed when I learned they had chosen a project that could be used as a tool in helping people find friends who have been missing. This project showcases Rogelio and Ethan’s technical ability and also demonstrates their compassion for the community.”

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