Carmel High School seniors win Congressional App Challenge by modernizing hall passes


For a group of Carmel High School seniors, the idea of paper hall passes seemed outdated, so they created PassMaster, an app that works as an electronic hall pass.

Evan Kenyon, Joseph Paavola and Armaan Goel developed the app. Jared Stigter and Andrew Sleugh assisted. The app allows teachers and students to request, approve and create passes wherever they are and for whenever they need.

The students recently won the Congressional App Challenge, which is designed to engage students in computer science and coding and was open to all middle and high school students who live in U.S. Rep. Susan Brooks’ (R-Ind.) Fifth District.

An expert panel of judges evaluated each submission based on the following criteria: Quality of the idea, implementation of the idea and demonstrated excellence of coding and programming skills.

“We didn’t create it for the contest, but we decided it would be a good project to submit,” Kenyon said. “Even though three of us worked on this primarily, we’re all members of a club called Code for Change, which has worked on other projects. We just decided to submit this one.”

The winners from each district are invited to attend a conference in April in Washington, D.C. Brooks presented the award to the students in December at CHS.

“We’re planning on getting it up and running pretty soon,” Kenyon said. “We’re fixing a few bugs, but there is not much left to actually do. The current paper pass system is disjointed. It’s going to be a lot better for students and teachers to use this system. It’s a lot more streamlined.”

Kenyon said they also are creating a website for students who don’t have access to a mobile device.

“Our former computer science teacher gave us the idea and we just kind of kept it in the back of our minds while working on other projects,” Kenyon said. “Once we had enough time to start working on it, we decided to meet with our principal to discuss project ideas. We mentioned that and ran with it from there.”