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Student’s app a winner in congressional challenge

By Peter Elacqua
Staff Writer

Manalapan High School student Ariel Rakovitsky recently received a visit from a congressman who honored the young man as the creator of an award-winning application (app) in a nationwide competition.

Rakovitsky, of Marlboro, is a sophomore at Manalapan High School and was selected as the winner of the Congressional App Challenge for New Jersey’s 6th Congressional District. His app was one of five winning projects from New Jersey. More than 1,700 students competed nationwide.

Rakovitsky received a Congressional certificate of excellence from Congressman Frank Pallone Jr. (D-NJ) on Feb. 22 at the high school. Manalapan Mayor Mary Ann Musich, Deputy Mayor Susan Cohen and Freehold Regional High School District Superintendent of Schools Charles Sampson attended the presentation.

Rakovitsky’s app, which is titled Students, is primarily a crowd funding app for schools and students who are in the app’s system. Users will receive stories about student accomplishments and they can browse through the past accomplishments of many schools and/or specific students. Each update would be accompanied by an article and a photo. In some cases, users would be able to donate to specific schools or students through PayPal if they choose to do so.

The 2015 competition is the first time Pallone has hosted the competition for the 6th District. The competition debuted in 2014.

“The idea of the app challenge was to challenge students who were interested in science and math and ask them to come up with their own idea,” Pallone said. “I was impressed with (Rakovitsky’s) app because it showcases students in the schools and provides links to the user to fund-raise for them. Schools are always in need of additional funding.”

The winning apps will be displayed on the Congressional App Challenge website and on a digital display in the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., for the next year.

“I applaud Ariel, and all of the participants this year, for their hard work in developing thoughtful and innovative apps,” Pallone said. “The Congressional App Challenge presents a unique opportunity for some of the brightest young minds in our community to showcase both their technical and creative skills and create a product that can have far-reaching effects on people and institutions across our state and across the country. I am very proud of the work done by students like Ariel and I encourage students throughout New Jersey’s 6th District to compete next year.”

“I am very honored and humbled Congressman Pallone can appreciate my work,” Rakovitsky said. “It is a step in the right direction and I am looking forward for things to come.”

Rakovitsky said he would like to pursue a college degree in computer science. To view Rakovitsky’s app Students, visit http://www.congressionalappchallenge.us/

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