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Congressman Vicente Gonzalez recognizes Science Academy students as top 10 winners of annual Congressional App Challenge for District 34

Congressman Vicente Gonzalez (TX-34) visited South Texas Independent School District’s (STISD) Mercedes complex last week to present awards to the top 10 winners of the annual Congressional App Challenge (CAC) competition for the 34th Congressional District of Texas. This year, all top 10 winners are students at STISD Science Academy in Mercedes.

According to the CAC website, the CAC is hosted by Members of Congress for middle school and high school students to encourage participation in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education, develop coding skills, and create original applications that better their communities. The CAC is one of the most prestigious national prizes for students in computer science.

The following are the students who placed within the top 10:

Winner – Aaron Garza

Remaining students in top 5 (in no particular order): Gabriel Dougherty, Jesus Ibarra, Renata Leonhardt, Marian Hernandez

Remaining students in top 10 (in no particular order): Ibrahim Hussain, Miguel Iniguez, Daniela Rodriguez, Fedra Najera, Giselle Morgan

First-place winner Aaron Garza and his teacher Fernando Grimaldo are invited to attend the national presentation to be held in Washington D.C. this spring.

The CAC was created with the mission to broaden access to computer science and STEM skills, as these crafts are becoming increasingly essential to both economic growth and innovation within the United States. Additionally, the CAC seeks to bridge the gender, geographic, and racial disparities that are currently prevalent in the tech industry at large. Through the CAC’s 9-year history, over 40,000 students across all 50 states found greater interest and accessibility to code their futures.

South Texas ISD is a state- and nationally-recognized public school district offering tuition-free college- and career-preparation to students from Cameron, Hidalgo and Willacy Counties. The all-magnet district is comprised of seven secondary campuses within the Rio Grande Valley, including four high schools serving grades 9-12 – South Texas ISD Health Professions (Health Professions) in Mercedes, South Texas ISD Medical Professions (Medical Professions) in Olmito, South Texas ISD Science Academy (Science Academy) in Mercedes, and South Texas ISD World Scholars (World Scholars) in Edinburg – two middle schools serving grades 6 through 8, South Texas ISD Preparatory Academy (Preparatory Academy) in Edinburg and South Texas ISD Rising Scholars Academy (Rising Scholars Academy) in San Benito, and one stand-alone virtual school serving students in grades 6-11. For additional information, call 1-800-21STUDY or visit