A team of nine Linkers in grades 5 through 8 were awarded “Best Overall” in the Schools That Can – Newark (STC) 6th Annual Design Challenge. The design challenge engages students in design-thinking to solve a local community issue. Each competing Newark charter middle school was sponsored by a local business, in Link’s case, Edison Properties, and assisted by a STC volunteer.
The 2022 challenge was to develop a plan to re-design the area around Newark Symphony Hall, the city’s historic performing arts center. The Hall has been undergoing exterior renovations since 2020, and the idea of this challenge was to create a new “streetscape” and parking lot to complement the Hall. Over five weeks, students, who named their team the “Linkgineers”, researched and then developed a prototype of the landscape around the Hall using a variety of supplies provided by STC. During the process, they were guided by two of Link’s science teachers, Ms. Doyle and Mrs. Kutch as well as Dean DeNully.
As for their results, The Linkgineers renamed Broad Street, where the Hall is located, Sarah Vaughn Way, in honor of the Newark native who rose to fame as an American jazz singer. They included in their design a parking lot, an outdoor stage, a food truck area, a playground, murals, statues and a “Walk of Fame” honoring famous Newark residents to enhance the area around the Hall. At the end of the five weeks, students presented their plan to a panel of judges, and their hard work paid off, as they captured “Best Overall.”
Of the students’ presentation, Mrs. Kutch stated, “They each took part in presenting an aspect of the project, and when the judges asked questions, they were prepared with an answers! While all of the projects were well done, our Linkgineers claimed the top award of Best Overall for not only their design, but also their presentation. She further exclaimed, “It was incredible to watch these students from across four grades come together to share ideas and bring them to fruition. Each student brought their own areas of expertise to the project and Dean DeNully, Ms. Boyle, and I are so proud of their hard work and dedication to re-envisioning the block around Newark Symphony Hall. “ Click here for their Powerpoint presentation.