Belfry High School Students Win Congressional App Challenge for Kentucky's Fifth Congressional District


Congressman Rogers presented Congressional Award Medals to three students at Somerset Christian Academy, December 2016

WASHINGTON, DC -- U.S. Rep. Harold "Hal" Rogers (KY-05) announced the winning team for the 2022 Congressional App Challenge for Kentucky's Fifth District is from Belfry High School in Pike County.

Students Natalie Fite, Reese Varney and Ian Belcher designed an app called "Sm;)e" to provide individuals with mental health resources on their mobile devices. The team was one of sixteen who submitted an app design for the national competition. The winning app will be displayed in the U.S. Capitol for one year, representing the most innovative students of southeastern Kentucky. 

"This has been our most competitive app challenge in the last seven years," said Congressman Rogers, Dean of the House. "The ingenuity among our students is incredible. They coded innovative apps to address challenges in our communities and provided videos to explain their work in detail to the judges. They designed apps to address a multitude of issues ranging from mental health to healthcare equipment, small business support, boosting tourism and much more. I'm very proud of all of our students who competed this year." 

Several student teams displayed their app proposals this year at the SOAR Summit in Pikeville, Kentucky in October. Congressman Rogers had the opportunity to see those apps first-hand and speak to the students who designed them. 

"The problems associated with mental health have been a growing issue. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, the mental health of many has deteriorated exponentially. Suicide rates are higher than they have ever been. Our application, Sm;)e, aims to help people battling mental health issues find a way to keep going," stated Fite in her team's winning application. "It provides encouragement and links to resources in their local area. Sm;)e could serve as their light at the end of the tunnel or as a glimpse of hope." 

The winning team is invited to Washington, DC for the #Houseofcode Capitol Hill Reception in 2023. 

"I am very proud of our students at Belfry High School for putting forth their best efforts for this national challenge. They invested dozens of hours learning and developing the code required for a fully functional mobile app with purpose," said Haridas Chandran, Physical Science Teacher at Belfry High School. "We are thrilled to have the opportunity to represent Eastern Kentucky in Washington, DC."  

For more information about how to compete in the Congressional App Challenge in 2023, visit and


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