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Gwinnett student Niheer Patel named winner of 2021 Congressional App Challenge

NRI Pulse Staff Report

Atlanta, GA, April 20, 2022: Seventeen-year-old Niheer Patel of Brookwood High School in Gwinnett County is the winner of the 2021 Congressional App Challenge. On April 12, Congressman Hank Johnson (GA-04) visited Patel at his school to congratulate him.

The winning app, “Georgia DDS Checklist,” was created using Java Script and was designed to prepare teens or others visiting the DDS (Department of Driver Services) to obtain a Class CP, Class C, or Class D license. For each type of license, there are checklists that users can interact with to track steps they have completed, and steps that still need to be done.

“My main inspiration to create this app was hearing stories from my peers and friends about terrible DDS experiences where they forgot critical documents and then had to wait months to get another appointment, especially in the midst of the pandemic when spots are incredibly limited,” said Patel, who is a Junior at Brookwood. “With my own appointment approaching soon, I wanted to ensure that no others (myself included) have to go through similar rough experiences to get their driver’s licenses. By consolidating all the info into a single, easily accessible place, I hope to make the DDS experience seamless.”

Officially launched by the U.S. House of Representatives in 2015, the Congressional App Challenge is a nationwide effort that allows students to compete against their peers by creating an application (app), or game for mobile phones, tablets, or computer devices.

Congressman Johnson’s Congressional App Challenge is open to all students in the 4th Congressional District of Georgia. The competition highlights the value of computer science and STEAM education (Science, Technology, Art, Engineering and Math).

“The app challenge allows us to showcase some of our nation’s brightest young minds and prepare young people to use their creativity to harness tech for good and to make sure the jobs of tomorrow are in America,” said Rep. Hank Johnson, Chairman of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet. “Competitions like this one are an important step in propelling our youth to become the nation’s next generation of innovators and creators.”

Students were judged on the following criteria: Quality of the idea, including creativity and originality; Implementation of the idea, including user experience and design; and the ability to demonstrate their coding and programming skills.

“This is an incredible opportunity for Niheer Patel. He used his passion for helping others along with the knowledge and skills taught in his AP Computer Science Principles class to solve a real-world problem,” said Patel’s Computer Science teacher Kerry Duncan. “This achievement exemplifies the relevancy of Career & Technical Education courses and how well they align with industry expectations. We are truly thankful to Congressman Hank Johnson for taking the trip to Brookwood High School to celebrate Niheer.”

Brookwood High School staff and students were also joined by several elected officials who wanted to take part in celebrating their young constituent.

“I congratulate Niheer Patel for winning the Congressional App Challenge for Congressional District Four. Through his successful “Georgia DDS checklist” app, Niheer has demonstrated the strong critical thinking skills and tenacity needed for a bright future in computer science or any creative field, said State Representative Rebecca Mitchell (HD 106-Snellville). “As a scientist, I commend Congressman Hank Johnson for his continued efforts to foster a strong STEM foundation for our children.”

“The Congressional App Challenge is a great opportunity to cultivate and showcase the talent of Gwinnett’s youth,” said Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners Chairwoman Nicole Hendrickson. “I was happy to join Congressman Johnson to recognize one of our bright young minds, Niheer Patel, whose thoughtful Georgia DDS Checklist app combines innovation with his desire to help other members of our community.”

“I would like to thank Congressman Johnson for including county officials in celebrating Brookwood High School student, Niheer Patel’s winning the Congressional App Challenge,” said Gwinnett County District 3 Commissioner Jasper Watkins III. “Niheer exemplifies why Gwinnett is the preferred county where everyone thrives and innovative concepts are nurtured.”

Niheer was also presented with a proclamation from Gwinnett County District 2 Commissioner Ben Ku for his achievement.

The Georgia DDS checklist app will be featured in the nation’s Capitol building, and on

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