Fullerton School District students create smartphone apps to solve real-world challenges

They devised apps to help locate lost pets, apps to protect the environment and apps to promote health and safety.

More than 475 students in the Fullerton School District, ranging from grades two through eight, were recently tasked with brainstorming smartphone and tablet applications capable of solving real-world problems. While many came up with proposals and short videos to explain their innovations, some went so far as to actually code and build functional apps.

Students with awards

The six-week assignment was modeled after the Congressional App Challenge, which is made up of a series of regional app-development competitions hosted by members of Congress.

In the Fullerton School District, which serves about 13,500 students from transitional kindergarten through grade eight, app concepts were submitted in two divisions — Primary Grades (kindergarten through grade five) and Middle School (grades six, seven and eight).

State Senator Ling Ling Chang recognized some of the top entries during an April 15 awards ceremony at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library in Yorba Linda.

“We are excited to partner with Senator Ling Ling Chang’s office on this very exciting opportunity for our students,” Fullerton Superintendent Dr. Robert Pletka said. “The work the students have put into their app challenge ideas continues is demonstrate the creativity and tenacity of this generation.”

Here’s a breakdown of the winners:

Primary Grades

  • First place: Teacher Helper by Sara Gold and Jolie Coen of Laguna Road School
  • Second place: Indoor Garden by Suhaan Desai, Avery Loh, Natalie Park and Brandon Wang of Fisler School
  • Third: Plastic Ocean by Eurie Lee, Nishtha Patel and Carolina Martin of Sunset Lane School


  • Radical News by Caleb Kim, Tyler Pham, Thomas Oltman and Michael Coglianese of Laguna Road School
  • Your Personal Gym by Elijah Jordan and Evan Magdaleno of Richman School
  • Story Tales by Sania Desai and Avery Carley of Laguna Road School
  • Remember Me by Camillo Escuin, Caleb Lee, Maddie Lambros and Samira Valadez of Laguna Road School

Middle School

  • First: Studdy Buddy by Krisi Patel, Emily Arroyo, Michelle Alcibar and Tina Van of Nicolas Junior High School
  • Second: Scale by Rachel Kang, Kaylee Kwon and Celerina Lee of Sunset Lane School
  • Third: #Earth: Dana Lee, Julie Liu, Kailey Chi, and Sarah Ryu of Laguna Road School


  • Noble Box Charity by Gianna Rochlitz, Allison Reed, Mackenzy Jung and Samantha Dye of Laguna Road School
  • Daily School Planner by Marilyn Munguia, Rubie Garza, Melissa Salvador and Janelle Rodriguez of Pacific Drive School
  • Multi Tasking Chores by Riya Macwan, Aly Chow, Isabella Kim and Alexis Bordwell of Laguna Road School
  • Pickup Central by Guillermo Morales, Jeffrey Tran, Tony Salas and Ivangel Diera Nicolas Junior High School