On Saturday, May 16, eight RCDS students participated in a virtual Teen Makeathon with the theme of environmental solutions. The event, which was hosted by the Young Founders Institute, provided students with a "hands-on, fast-paced, collaborative design thinking exercise." Eighty-eight teen entrepreneurs from all over the country worked in groups to come up with possible solutions to the environmental issue of plastics in the ocean. Their ideas were then presented to the CEO of Renewlogy, Priyanka Bakaya, who was also the Makeathon's keynote speaker. In addition to giving students the opportunity to work directly with a sustainability CEO, the Makeathon gave participants the chance to practice mental model creation through empathy.
RCDS students learn about the issue of plastic waste in our oceans in the Sustainability curriculum and through participating in "Coastal Clean-Up" events at the Edith Read Wildlife Sanctuary in Rye. This experience provided a helpful foundation for the students who participated in the Teen Makeathon.
RCDS junior Arly Rodriguez and her team pitched the idea of launching an educational campaign to teach people how to recycle more effectively. She noted, "The program gave me a shark tank vibe. A problem was presented and we had to market off our ideas or solutions. Overall, it was a great experience."
Seventh grader Isabela P., whose team presented the idea of making plastics without toxins so that the plastics can be burned instead of thrown away, reflected on the experience stating, "I learned how to express my own ideas by pitching them to people I had never seen before. I would recommend this to really anyone who would like to strengthen their communication skills and wants to become an entrepreneur—even if you are a total beginner like me!"
Sophomore Gabriella Jolly was very inspired by the event. "I learned so much both about sustainability and how to solve a widespread problem with different solutions," she said. She has already expressed interest in organizing a similar event at RCDS.
Commenting on the RCDS students' work, the Makeathon organizers shared, "They are really sharp. It was amazing getting to see the full brain power of the group at work on a single problem. The ideas came from a deep exploration of the problem and were excellent solutions!"
List of RCDS participants:
- Felix Dosmond '23
- Gabriella Jolly '22
- Samantha L. '25
- Xavier Lee '21
- Isabela P. '25
- Arly Rodriguez '21
- Ethan Silverman Guffey '20
- Leah S. '25