Mason Burdan, Joshua Mola, students at Hanover Central Middle School in Cedar Lake, won the Congressional App Challenge in Indiana’s First Congressional District.
The app challenge is a nationwide competition for middle school and high school students. Students create and exhibit applications, or apps, for mobile, tablet or computer devices.
Burdan and Mola's winning app is a game called “The Dark Forest.” In the game, players collect points under time restrictions while facing obstacles.
“I wanted to make a horror game for a while, as I really like to draw monsters and other creatures,” Burdan said in a press release. “I plan to use my coding and computer skills to become an architect and design houses.”
The team said Burdan was the creative force behind the game’s storyline, and Mola took charge of the coding.
“I plan to use my coding skills to get a job in the computer coding industry, and to also continue to make games,” Mola said.
A video of “The Dark Forest” can be viewed here. The app will be part of a display in the U.S. Capitol. It will also be featured on the House.gov website and the Congressional App Challenge website.
“It’s wonderful to have Mason and Josh recognized for such an amazing accomplishment that embodies creativity and technology,” Mary Tracy-MacAulay, superintendent of Hanover Central School Corporation, said. “They are great young men, and it will be wonderful to watch what the future holds for them both.”
Rep. Frank Mrvan also congratulated Burdan and Mola.
“It is deeply encouraging to see such technological innovation and creativity in the youth of our Region, and I thank all of the schools and teachers for their daily dedication to fostering and encouraging these skills,” Mrvan said.
Members of the U.S. House of Representatives host app challenges for students every year. Since 2016, over 40,000 students have participated. The goal is to inspire students to pursue careers in computer science.