Congressman Vern Buchanan

Representing the 16th District of Florida

Buchanan Honors Area Student Who Invented App to Help Foreign Language Students

Dec 19, 2022
Press Release
Names Winner of 2022 Congressional App Challenge
Inspired by Ukrainian Classmate Who Didn’t Speak English

SARASOTA, FlaCongressman Vern Buchanan recognized Jace Billingsley as the winner of the 2022 Congressional District App Challenge. Billingsley designed a software application to help foreign language students translate school lessons in real time.

Buchanan hailed the ingenuity of Billingsley, saying “I can’t commend him enough for inventing such an important tool for international students. As a two-time winner of the Congressional App Challenge, Jace clearly has a bright future as an aspiring web applications developer.” 

Jace Billingsley is a 14-year-old 8th grade student at Buffalo Creek Middle School in Palmetto, Fla. He also won last year’s Congressional District App Challenge for his development of  “The Code Blue App,” which helps health care workers administer the American Heart Association’s recommended interventions used to resuscitate patients experiencing cardiac or respiratory failure, also known as a “code blue.” 

“STEM education gives students the tools they need to succeed and help the U.S. compete in an increasingly global 21st century economy,” Buchanan continued. “Children are 25 percent of the population, but 100 percent of the future, and the future is in good hands with students like Jace.” 

The winning entry, “ClassTranslate” was developed to help international students in American schools translate their lessons from English to their native language. Unlike other translation apps, ClassTranslate is specifically made for classrooms, allows students to download their language transcripts, offers multi-language support and provides live clarification to ensure students are typing lessons and conversations accurately.

The app will be featured on CongressionalAppChallenge.us and will also be eligible to have photos of its interface displayed in the U.S. Capitol.

“Since I started participating in the Congressional App Challenge, I have learned so much about how to publish apps and speak about them,” said Billingsley. “I enjoy creating practical applications that have a real-world use. The idea for this year’s app came from a need I saw firsthand in my class. I had Ukrainian classmates that did not speak English, and I wanted to do something to help them communicate more efficiently in a classroom setting. So, I created ClassTranslate.”

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts overall employment in the economy to grow by 5.3 percent between 2021 and 2031, while jobs in STEM fields are expected to grow by 10.8 percent. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, college-educated STEM job holders earn between 29 percent and 39 percent more per hour than non-STEM employees with equivalent educational attainment. 

The Congressional App Challenge was created by the U.S. House of Representatives in 2015 and allows students to compete against their peers across the country by creating an app for desktop/PC, web, tablet, mobile, raspberry Pi or other devices. The challenge is designed to promote innovation and engagement in computer science.

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