Five pupils from The Rookeries Carleton Junior & Infant School in Pontefract took centre spot at the Wakefield Light Switch on after winning the ‘Northern Powergrid Light up Yorkshire competition’ to design their own Christmas light which featured in the Wakefield 2017 light display.
The winners, who wowed the set of judges with their imaginative and thoughtful community themed Christmas light design, were joined by fellow pupils from school who helped them celebrate from a dedicated viewing spot in the crowd.
Students from across the Pontefract Education Trust entered the competition, which is now in its third year, and is held as part of a joint educational programme by Northern Powergrid and social enterprise Ahead Partnership. It sees students participate in projects to aid their understanding of energy consumption, communities and lighting design whilst encouraging them to engage with Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) subjects before designing their own Christmas light.
The Leeds Lights team (part of Leeds City Council) created the light from the winning design which was switched on as part of Wakefield Christmas Light Switch On at The Ridings Shopping Centre. The five pupils Skyeann, Angel, Ayaan, Lewis and Joshua were on the stage to see their winning design brought to life as part of the big switch on by the Mayor, Cllr Kevin Barker.
Siobhan Barton, Head of Stakeholder Relations at Northern Powergrid, was one of the judges: “It’s been fantastic to share in the children’s excitement for this innovative educational programme. The competition has proved an inventive way to get youngsters across Wakefield and Pontefract involved in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) subjects. Their ‘Make Someone’s Christmas Shine’ design is really eye-catching and the winners should be incredibly proud of their achievements and being able share their creativity with everyone who visits Wakefield to see the lights.”
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. Following enormous success in Leeds and Sunderland, we’re delighted to help Northern Powergrid bring this competition to Pontefract and Wakefield this year.”
Harry Rhodes, Leeds Lights Manager, said: “This is the third year we’ve had the honour of supporting the competition and enabling the school children to see their hard work illuminated. This year’s competition has been a great way to get young people thinking about and producing something for their local community.”
Nicki Ellwand, headteacher at The Rookeries Carleton Junior & Infant School, said: “This has been an amazing chance for the students to learn about STEM subjects whilst being creative and learning more about communities. It’s really inspired the children – and seeing light illuminated is a special moment for them and the school.”