Rep. Loudermilk Announces Winners of the 2016 Congressional App Challenge

Ryan Cobelli, Rep. Loudermilk  and Arvin Poddar
Ryan Cobelli, Rep. Loudermilk and Arvin Poddar

Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-GA) today recognized Kennesaw Mountain High School student Ryan Cobelli and Wheeler High School student Arvin Poddar as the winners of the 2016 Congressional App Challenge for Georgia’s 11th Congressional District.

Teammates Ryan Cobelli and Arvin Poddar created a specially designed app called Gradespark – a free online grading system that allows students to easily calculate and manage their grades for multiple classes. As the winning app from Georgia’s 11th District, GradeSpark will be featured on, and exhibited on a digital display at the U.S. Capitol.

“A consistent theme I hear when visiting businesses across our district is the need for highly skilled employees with a focus on STEM,” said Rep. Loudermilk. “With this increasing demand, I was inspired by the great response to the Challenge. The response demonstrated that we have extremely talented students in our district who are involved, competing, and furthering scientific knowledge. It is a pleasure to represent such talented students whose futures look bright.”

The Congressional App Challenge is designed to engage student creativity and encourage participation in STEM-based education fields. Established by members of the U.S. House of Representatives in 2013, this competition is part of a nationwide event that allows high school students from across the country to compete by creating and exhibiting their software application, or app, for mobile, tablet, or computer devices on the platform of their choice.

The winner from the 11th Congressional District was selected by an independent panel of expert judges, including:

• Mr. K.P. Reddy, Chief Executive Office, SoftWear Automation, Inc.

• Mr. Jared Miller, Chief Technology Officer, AMB Sports & Entertainment, Atlanta Falcons

• Ms. Svetlana Peltsverger, Interim Associate Dean and Associate Professor at the College of Computing and Software Engineering at Kennesaw State University

Apps were judged based on the following criteria: quality of idea, including creativity and originality; implementation of the idea, including user experience and design; and demonstrated excellence of coding and programming skills.

“Our team of judges was highly impressed by the coding talent of the students from the 11th Congressional District,” said K.P. Reddy, CEO of SoftWear Automation, Inc. “The number of compelling projects submitted certainly made for a difficult decision process. These projects demonstrate how STEM is being prioritized in our schools, and I’m delighted the results are starting to show. These type of Congressional competitions will certainly help develop employees for the high tech sector as well as all manufacturing and technology based companies. I hope to see even more students participate next year.”

GradeSpark, the winning app for Georgia’s 11th Congressional District, can be viewed here.

Piedmont Plans ‘Senior Overnight’ at Demorest Campus

Piedmont College Overpass
High school students can experience college life at Piedmont’s upcoming ‘Senior Overnight’ in Demorest March 10–11.

Area high school seniors are invited to spend a day in the life of a Piedmont College student during a two-day Senior Overnight event at the college in Demorest March 10–11, 2016.

Senior Overnight provides high school students an opportunity to experience living on campus, including participating in a variety of academic classes, spending a night in the dorms, and eating in the new Student Commons dining hall.

For information on registration, visit or contact Joanna Tucker at 706-778-3000, ext. 1223; or email jtucker@piedmont.

About Piedmont College

One of the most dynamic small colleges in the Southeast, Piedmont is an independent liberal arts college of more than 2,260 students. The college’s four schools—Arts & Sciences, Business, Education, and Nursing & Health Sciences—develop tomorrow’s leaders by engaging students in the classroom, in their community, and around the world. Founded in 1897, Piedmont offers bachelor’s, master’s, specialist, and doctoral degree programs at its Demorest residential campus in the foothills of the northeast Georgia mountains and at its Athens campus in the heart of Georgia’s Classic City.

North Georgia Medical Center Emergency Room/Department to Close

North Georgia Medical Center

Effective March 1, 2016, North Georgia Medical Center will be closing its Emergency Room/Department, thus no longer providing ER services for an indefinite period of time. It is the hospital’s hope that this measure is a temporary one and the decision was forced upon the hospital due to financial reasons. This change will allow the hospital to maintain a financial position that allows it to continue its mission and provide key services to the Gilmer County service area.

Hospital leadership has reviewed this proposal and confirmed that it will not create any change to its current licensure status.

Additionally, the hospital leadership has also confirmed that it will not impact the hospital’s accreditation status with the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organization (JCAHO).

This change does not affect Gilmer Nursing Home or the physicians based at the Medical Offices of North Georgia. Incidentally, most of the hospital services will remain the same, including outpatient and inpatient care, surgery, swing bed rehabilitation and nursing home care. Departments such as laboratory, radiology, and respiratory will continue to operate and see patients with only a change in the hours that those services will be available. Employees that will be affected by the ER closure will be offered assistance finding other positions if they desire.

North Georgia Medical Center has faced a number of obstacles over the years, but its commitment to the community is the same and we encourage the community to support your local hospital. In light of all the financial burdens, hospital leadership believes this action is the best option to maintain its mission and sustain as many employees as possible. Please feel free to contact Katie Lancey, CNO or Earl Whiteley, CEO, 706-276-4741, if you have any questions or require further information regarding this changes for our organization.