Children from Grindon Hall Christian School have helped light up the city as part of the Sunderland Christmas Light Switch On after winning a Northern Powergrid competition to design a community themed Christmas Light.
The light which is located in Park Lane was illuminated ahead of the main switch on event with the five winning pupils and their classmates treated to their very own VIP festive party. The pupils enjoyed a disco, face painting and party food to get them in the festive spirit before the countdown to their own mini switch on event.
The competition, now in its second year, saw pupils from schools across Sunderland participate in projects to aid their understanding of STEM (Science, English, Engineering and Maths) by attending workshops. The workshops focused on community and the people within the community who may need extra support during a power cut, energy efficiency and design, preparing them to design a community themed Christmas light.
The winning school was announced after each school took part in a mini engineering appreciation day at the region’s electricity distributor’s training school in Durham. The day was full of hands on fun and educational activities including off-road driving and circuit building before the children presented their ideas and design in a ‘Dragons Den’ style pitch to a specially selected panel of judges.
Siobhan Barton, Head of Stakeholder Relations at Northern Powergrid, said: "The Light up Sunderland competition has proved to be an effective way to bring STEM subjects to life for the children whilst they also learn more about the communities they live in. I really love this year's winning design and the children should be really proud of the light they have created.
Stephanie Burras CBE, Ahead Partnership’s Chief Executive, said: “When local employers like Northern Powergrid combine creativity and fun to create a competition like this, it really fires up young people and ignites their passion for STEM subjects. It gives them a better understanding of their future career choices and it’s an opportunity outside the classroom to develop their employability skills such as teamwork and communication. We’re delighted to help Northern Powergrid bring this competition to Sunderland for the second year.”
Mrs Joanne Maw, Principal at Grindon Hall Christian School, said: "The children have thoroughly enjoyed the competition and tonight's VIP party has been fantastic. Seeing their design lit up in the city centre is something they will never forget.