SSA Students Win Second Straight Congressional App Challenge

A team of Shady Side Academy Senior School students won the Congressional App Challenge for Pennsylvania's 14th Congressional District for the second straight year.

U.S. Rep. Mike Doyle and Nick ZanaSSA sophomores Alexander Biglan, Nick Zana and Jason Vasko won the 2018 competition for creating an app that consolidates weather information to help with rocket launches. The app provides current air conditions at any location and helps to estimate rocket launch performance. It also provides the necessary information to adjust launch angles, engine configuration and rocket size to improve the launch.

On behalf of his app team, Zana attended an awards reception hosted by U.S. Representative Mike Doyle (PA-14) on Nov. 19 at the University of Pittsburgh.

Zana was also a member of the four-person SSA team that won the 2017 Congressional App Challenge for developing the SSA Student app last year.

The Congressional App Challenge is a competition aimed at encouraging U.S. students to learn how to code by creating their own applications. The challenge is intended to highlight the value of computer science and STEM education (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) by giving students an opportunity to have their efforts recognized by their Member of Congress. The competition is open to all students in grades K-12, regardless of coding experience.

Apps submitted to the PA-14 district competition were evaluated based on creativity, implementation, demonstrated excellence of coding and programming skills. A panel of judges from prominent tech programs in PA-14 evaluated the apps and selected the winning app.

Congratulations, Nick, Alexander and Jason!

To submit an idea for a website news story, please email