Names to Note: Students win award for app that helps seniors

Modesto high school students Divya katyal and Rana banankhah won the 2021 version of the Congress Applications Challenge in District 10.

They have developed a software application that connects isolated elderly people with volunteers who could meet specific needs. Representative Josh Harder, D-Turlock, announced the selection in a Jan.4 press release.

“The young people of the Valley never cease to amaze me,” he said. “… What a great mission and a fantastic idea. “

The competition is open to middle and high school students in House districts across the country. Organizers hope to inspire them to learn software coding and someday work in computers.

Katyal and Banankhah, who are in their last year, called their app Community connections. Seniors can upload their information to a general news feed where volunteers can contact them.

“During this COVID-19 pandemic, one of the hardest hit groups has also been the most valuable group in our society, our elders,” the creators wrote in their contest entry. “Not only are they much more likely to have serious side effects from this virus, but they’ve also been the most isolated during this quarantine. Our app, Community Connections, strives to bring some comfort and human interaction to older people in our community who currently lack these connections.

Banankhah is also the representative of the students both on the Schools of the city of Modesto board of directors and California Board of Education.

Manteca interchange wins award

An engineering group graced a highway 120 intersection that opened in late 2020 with an unusual design.

This is a “diverging diamond”, which requires traffic to briefly change sides on the Union Road Bridge before entering the national highway. Advocates say it’s safer and more efficient than conventional interchanges.

The Manteca project has just won an award for excellence in engineering from the American Council of Engineering Companies. It was a joint effort of the city and the California Department of Transportation.

It was the state’s first divergent diamond. Ceres plans to use the design on a new interchange on Highway 99 at Service Road.

Names of Note recognizes individuals and organizations for their contribution to their communities. Submit articles to [email protected]

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John Holland covers news about agriculture, transportation and general assignments. He has worked for The Modesto Bee since 2000 and previously worked for newspapers in Sonora and Visalia. He was born and raised in San Francisco and graduated in journalism from UC Berkeley.

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