Students see the Big Picture at Global Goals Ideathon

Students at Harrogate Grammar School took part in the first ever Global Goals Ideathon to round off an exciting week of trips, events, and visitors coming into school.

Students across all years embraced a day of skills-building workshops centered around entrepreneurship, design thinking and presentation skills. This was to ultimately apply a “social impact/humanitarian” solution using Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts & Maths (STEAM) to progress the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

External speakers included the United Nations Director of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), the UN Education, Science & Culture Organisation (UNESCO), IBM Global zSystems Student & Entrepreneurship Lead & their Global Head of Sustainability. The workshops were led by IBM employees and other reputable changemakers. Other guests who came in to support students included UK Youth, TechWeek Humber, Canva and more.

Year 13 Deputy Head Student Lella Halloum was behind the event described the day as a “jam-packed day, with many high-profile individuals, designed to close the gap between industry and the classroom.” Lella studied English, History and Politics at Harrogate Grammar Sixth Form and has just finished her A Levels. She works with IBM on their student initiative, ensuring they include young people in their decisions and creating what she called “youth-centric solutions.”

She approached school last summer with the idea of running a major event, a hackathon for ideas and to champion cognitive diversity. “I’m passionate about increasing equity of access to #STEAM opportunities beyond the textbooks. I was keen to share these skills and see my “blue-sky thoughts” turned into a whole-school event.”

As well as keynote speeches, the workshops challenged students to think about the 17 sustainable development goals set by UN and use STEAM to achieve them. In groups they came up with ideas and pitched their solutions to different judging panels.

Lella thanked everyone who had come on board to support the Ideathon, “Harrogate Grammar School were so willing to run with this idea. I do not think many schools can say they have had UN secretary generals dialing into events! It was incredibly powerful, and I really hope it helps other Head Students push for similar events. There is such a community spirit in the school that it is like no other. We are encouraged to put our best selves forward and support each other.”

Matt Cannon, Science teacher, who organised the Global Goals Ideathon with Lella, said, “The Ideathon day was something truly out of the ordinary. Walking the corridors, you could feel the buzz that the day generated. We hope that this day is just the start of our young people engaging with changing making and trying to implement social movements.”


Winners from years 7-10