Since winning the fourth annual HWS Hackathon, the victorious team, “The Innovators” have started to realize their successful idea of partnering with North Street Elementary School to create a mural reflecting the idea of art as a universal language that can build community and inclusivity. In the past month, William Smith students Katherine Vangaever ’21 and Juniper Asaro-Niederlitz ’22 have met with teachers from North Street to talk about building a curriculum and getting ideas for the mural.
“Before participating in the Hackathon I felt that I had not yet found a way to contribute in a meaningful way to the Geneva community,” says Asaro-Niederlitz. “Since winning this contest and beginning to discuss options for implementing our solution in the Geneva school district, I now feel that this experience will allow me to connect and positively contribute to the new community I live in.”
Meant to serve as a point of pride in the community, the mural project uses art as a medium that transcends language and cultural barriers. The students proposed that by working with dual immersion programs in Spanish and Mandarin, as well as other multilingual learners, the mural could create a curriculum that celebrates diversity and inclusion at North Street.
“This mural will help bridge the gap between HWS students and Geneva students as well as making a landmark that displays the different identities and cultures of the people involved,” says Vangaever.
“The Innovators” won $500 for their proposal from the Centennial Center and they chose to invest the prize back into realizing their idea and creating a mural with Geneva students.
Vangaever is a double major in international relations and French and Francophone studies with a minor in economics. She is the founder of the HWS DreamCatchers club, a group dedicated to helping terminally ill individuals from Ontario-Yates Hospice make their final days meaningful and vibrant. Asaro-Niederlitz is interested in majoring in philosophy with a minor in environmental studies.
The Centennial Center is dedicated to helping HWS students develop their leadership and entrepreneurial skills through a multitude of opportunities like the Hackathon. The office recently held the 2019 Pitch competition.