STEM app winners Trevor Fonda and Justin Park

Crescenta Valley High School senior Trevor Fonda, left, who recently won 3rd place, and sophomore Justin Park, who recently won 2nd place, in the 28th Congressional District Science Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Competition, show off their apps at the La Crescenta school on Wednesday, May 28, 2014. Fonda invented an app that solved a game called A Knight's Journey and Park made an app called Mission Multiplication which is a math game. (Raul Roa / Staff Photographer / May 28, 2014)

La Crescenta students dominated in a first-ever science, technology, engineering and math competition that asked students in the 28th Congressional district to create digital applications.

At the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Cañada on Tuesday, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) recognized the 25 students in his district who created 14 apps.

Of those students, 13 hail from Crescenta Valley and Clark Magnet high schools.

But it was a team of four Hollywood High School students who won first place for the app they made to help users plan and share images of clothing on mobile devices so they mix and match outfits.

Crescenta Valley High sophomore Justin Park took home second place for his application called “Mission Multiplication,” a tool for young students to practice multiplication.

When prompted with two numbers to multiply, players must guide a spaceship toward the correct answer — which appears with two other choices — all the while shooting asteroids out of the way.

“When I was learning multiplication, it wasn’t as fun as doing something like this,” Park said.

In the sixth grade, Park recalled thinking it would be cool to create an iPhone app.

“At that time, I looked at what I needed to do and I just stopped,” he said. “From there, I kind of dropped it. Then my Dad bought me a book on how to learn it, so I’d slowly read that.”

As a freshman last year, he started making apps, and this year, started using a computer program called Unity to create the game he submitted.

Meanwhile, Crescenta Valley High senior Trevor Fonda placed third for his application, “A Knight’s Journey,” his computer version of a logic puzzle.

He began learning how to create apps this year while in a computer class at Crescenta Valley High.

Fonda said the most difficult part was creating the algorithm to solve the game. In his application, a knight must move in an L-shape on a chessboard, but can visit each square only once.

“Programming isn’t what you see in the movies, just one guy sitting there going at it,” he said. “You kind of type, and then you sit there for a little bit. You go get a bite to eat, you come back, you play a few video games, then you type some more.”

Schiff said it was “very encouraging” that there were more participants in his congressional district than in any other across the country.

Before Schiff gave each student a certificate on Tuesday, students, parents and educators watched brief student-made videos which showed demonstrations of each app.

“I was blown away by the talent we saw here today,” Schiff said later. “These are brilliant kids and some of them will excel in this area, and other parts of school may not interest them as much and this gives them an outlet to pursue their interests.”

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Follow Kelly Corrigan on Twitter: @kellymcorrigan.

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