building future generations of design thinkers.

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2018-2019 Student Design Competition Highlights:


Bright Sparkers are tackling real-life challenges and designing the future. Give students the opportunity to grow their critical thinking, collaboration, and “designer” skills—empathy, brainstorming, creating, and experimenting. Discover how to get involved and enrich the educational experience for students 4th-grade through college-level.


Challenge Statement: HOW MIGHT WE connect resources and services within and into our communities to help students and families in need thrive?

This year, more than 20 student teams, ranging from 4th grade to college, created solutions to improve the quality of life for our community. Throughout the Student Design Competition journey, teams received education support, such as design thinking training, webinars and prototype feedback.

Congratulations to the 2018-2019 Connecting Communities Student Design Award Winners!

Bright Futures Awards - Best Overall
- Elementary School: Hatch by Chattanooga Christian School, led by Meghan Helums & Alice Sikkema
- Middle School: The Lighthouse by River Trail Middle School, led by Marwa Crisp
- High School: Community Garden by Brainerd High School, led by William Budd
- College: 1on1 by Auburn University, led by Ben Bush

Stronger Communities Award - Presented by United Way of Greater Chattanooga: Homeless Family Housing by Mountain Park Elementary, led by Pam Padak

Inspire & Impact Award - Most Creative: S.M.A.R.T. Mall by Avondale SDA School, led by Rosemarie Jeffries & Akeisha James

People’s Choice Award - Bright Bus by Woodland Elementary School, led by Leah Smith & Cheri Mills

Leadership Impact Awards -
Joy Baker, Chattanooga Girls Leadership Academy - Presented by Chambliss, Bahner & Stophel, P.C.
Steve Sweigart, Johns Creek High School - Presented by Shaw Group Industries, Inc.

Download Award Winner List here.

Program Milestones:
- Virtual team kickoff + Webinar Briefings
- Prototype Review - Check out highlights: WATCH | SCROLL
- Final submission - Watch student team video submissions
- Student Design Awards - Check out Award Highlights, Photos, and Keynote Highlights from featured speaker, Ryan Johnson, User Experience Director | The Home Depot, on the power of ideas

Watch a video of last year's competition here.


Congratulations, COLLITE!
COLLITE from Chattanooga School for the Arts & Sciences are the winners of the 2018 Invention Challenge.

Congratulations to Brennan, Will, Tyler, and their teacher Kristin Burrus!

Thank you for voting for your favorite inventions during the public voting phase of the competition! With your votes, we were able to identify 10 finalists. From the top-10, our four judges (Geoff Millener, Matt Harris, Tim Walsh, and Allison Wolfe) selected the top three inventions:

Winner: COLLITE From Chattanooga School for the Arts & Sciences

In Second Place: Neon Book Light from Westwood Elementary School

In Third Place: The Silent Stair Backpack from Girls Preparatory School

More than 30 teams competed this year. Check out all their videos here.


Invest in the next generation of innovators.

With your help, dozens of students will be able to participate in Bright Spark programs. Immersive design challenges help students build creative confidence, critical thinking, and empathy skills to prepare them for the job market of the future.

Ways to invest in the next generation of creative leaders:
- Sponsor a Design Competition
- Give resources as an In-Kind Sponsor
- Lend your time and insights as a Bright Spark Champion

In addition to making it possible for students to experience game-changing design challenges, sponsoring organizations also receive:
- Program, social media, and website recognition
- Judging positions
- Mentorship and speaking opportunities

Check out our Sponsorship Overview Video.

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Educator Resources

Keeping our Bright Spark educators trained, equipped and informed with the latest tools and resources to ignite creative confidence in the classroom is a priority.

Access the following online resources:
- Watch and Learn Videos
- Do-It-Yourself Tools
- Open Sources we love
- Educator Workshop opportunities

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Incorporating the use of design thinking into my classroom is one of the most valuable things I have done for my students. It has made my students more independent thinkers and problem-solvers. They are learning that they can improve their homes, schools, communities, and the world.
— Martha Thomason | Lead Gifted Teacher - Westwood Elementary
Experiences like the Bright Spark Student Design Competition cannot be duplicated within a classroom setting. Very few other places do students have the opportunity to work alongside professionals, educators, industry leaders, and other students of all age and skill levels. This experience validates innovation on so many levels.
— David Burghy | Professor of Industrial Design and CORE Studies - Columbus College of Art & Design
Before moving to Chattanooga, I had never been exposed to design thinking. What the Bright Spark Design Competition and Bridge Innovate are accomplishing has been truly life-changing for me.
— Andrew Meador | Upper School STEM Lead - Chattanooga Christian School