Congressman John Ratcliffe honors Denison students for winning competition

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DENISON, Tex. (KXII) - Students at Denison High School were honored by Congressman John Ratcliffe Thursday for coming in first and second place in a competition where they invented educational video games.

The video game 'Sky Cubed' won the 2019 Congressional App Challenge, and the games creator Kyle Mershon says he wanted to model it after a once-popular phone game.

"Its simple like 'Flappy Bird' when that was a popular thing," said Mershon, a junior at Denison High School.

Mershon and his classmate Wyatt Gidney created Sky Cubed to help users learn simple physics.

"You're an object, you're dodging other objects falling from the sky," said Mershon.

Classmate Trey Lane is the mastermind behind 'Math Dasher', the app that won second place.

Lane created the game to make algebra a little more interesting, by earning points by selecting the right answers of an equation.

"Well, math is boring, so I wanted to make it a little more interesting. Just to sharpen your algebra skills really, just practice. Because you have to know how to do algebra before you can really play it, so its just to sharpen your skills," said Lane.

Congressman John Ratcliffe, who also served on the Cybersecurity Committee, says he wants this competition to inspire students to have a career in software engineering.

"To turn that into something fun that might ultimately encourage them to take it up as a vocation to help our workforce needs," said Ratcliffe.

"I also think it's important that we have more people doing this on top of that because this is a developing thing. Games, software development in general, it's a growing thing," said Mershon.

In March, Mershon will head up to D.C. to show this app to all of Congress.