Grade 10 Student Designs First HTS Hackathon

Stephanie Stephens, Executive Director of Learning Innovation and Technology
After participating in the Rocky Hill Hackathon event in the fall, Tracy Z. in Grade 10 was feeling inspired to bring the same framework of learning to HTS. “As hackathons encourage critical thinking and problem-solving of current world issues and interdisciplinary thinking, I strongly believe that this learning aligns with HTS’ goals,” Tracy says.

Although HTS hosted a Blockchain Hackathon earlier this school year, we haven’t yet designed a challenge in house. Tracy showed true leadership, writing an exciting proposal without hesitation, and was encouraged to spearhead our first student-led hackathon.

After many hours of planning and careful organization, Tracy’s vision became a reality. On April 18, the Shed Some Light Hackathon focussed on the impact of light pollution in our world. Sixteen students were provoked to consider “How might we better transform light to balance human quality of life and the natural environment?”

In only six short hours, students demonstrated tremendous collaboration, teamwork and were able to generate some truly creative and innovative solutions. They pitched their ideas to members of our leadership team, who were very impressed. Student voice is critical in solving real and meaningful challenges. I hope they continue to take part in similar provocations and work together to make our world a better place.

Upon reflection, students involved in the hackathon commented on how much they learned and enjoyed the experience. They had developed a much better understanding of what a hackathon is. Tracy’s hope for next year is to build more experiences alongside students she has inspired in this journey. Future planning will include invitations to other schools and connecting with even more experts from around the globe.

A special thank you to HTS parent, Ms Melanie Morris, and HTS teachers, Mr. Art Lightstone and Ms Vanessa Poehlmann, who supported the students by sharing their expertise.