Two Rhoades School students participated in the Smart City Saturday Hackathon event on Saturday, January 6 in downtown San Diego. Smart City Saturday was created by Sarah Hernholm, who believes that once teens become part of the conversation, and engaged in their city’s evolution, they will make an impact! When teens are given the spaces and platforms to innovate, they rise to the occasion. Teens were addressing real problems faced by San Diego such as homelessness, civic engagement, and transportation.
Elizabeth Thacker and Kian Chakamian were part of a five person team with freshmen and sophomores from local high schools. The problem they addressed was how to get more young people engaged in public service and caring about their community. The team worked with experts who helped them address the problem creatively and design a pitch to present to a panel of judges. Kian and Elizabeth’s team developed an app for teens to find community service opportunities, and to record, track and report community service hours. Their concept was original because their company would contract with local school districts to market and deliver the app to students. Their team won the civic engagement award.
Elizabeth said the Hackathon was similar to Shark Tank in that her group had to pitch an idea to a panel of judges. The difference was they only had one day to develop and pitch their product. Kian said, “The day was very fun and we developed a great idea. We then practiced our pitch with our pitch coach and at 5:15 we were first to present. The pitch went great and we all felt really good when we left. Our team won best civic engagement with a prize of $100 to be split across our 5 person team. Not only did we win money but we now have many great connections to these very important adults.”
To learn more about Smart City Saturday and future Hackathon events visit: https://www.smartcitysaturday.com/.