On the last weekend of spring break, Crittenden hosted the first ever Startup Weekend for middle school students only. Before this unique event, any age group could sign up and come in, but it was overall angled to experienced adults that knew the basics of coding and creation of products. You would occasionally see some teenagers, but never as many as at this event.
At the very start of this weekend, we had "Pitch Night", where any one could create an idea about a product that would positively influence school life in some way, shape, or form. From ID bracelets that would students would scan in with, to a virtual reality that teaches about social studies in an actual world that you can walk around in instead of just reading about it, there were a vast variety of pitches. However, even though there were a lot of great ideas, not all could be prototyped: some had to be voted out. Once we had 9 ideas from the original 50, you could pick which team you wanted to be on. I personally chose to work on Team DiveIn, where we would create a virtual reality that put you into periods of history like the Renaissance and the Medieval times, instead of simply reading a paper about it.
Now, we weren't just told "Go wild! You can make it anyway you can!", we were actually instructed on how to create our idea. There were 3 main groups: Designers that would create the pictures, Business that would present our prototype as professionally as they can, and Coders that would actually bring it all in together as an actual software. Each category got a 2 hour in-depth session about how to do their job to the best of their abilities with the resources available. Overall, the development went from a few pictures linked by buttons in the app POP to an actual coded app with custom graphics, invisible linking, and multiple different sprites moving around.
This Startup Weekend with only middle schoolers has provided a lot of Crittenden and Graham students with valuable experience that they will use for the rest of their lives. Simply based on how fun and interactive it was, there will most definitely be more Startup Weekends around the country that focus on teaching a new generation.