Announcing the 2024 Ciena Solutions Challenge Sustainability Awards – Digital Promise

Announcing the 2024 Ciena Solutions Challenge Sustainability Awards

April 23, 2024 | By and

Since launching in 2021, more than 730 educators from schools and youth organizations across 77 countries have engaged with the Ciena Solutions Challenge, a global design challenge by Digital Promise and Ciena that invites middle and high school students globally to use Challenge Based Learning to design solutions that address the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals within their communities.

Today, we are proud to celebrate the 2024 Ciena Solutions Challenge Sustainability Award recipients, including 20 project teams that received a $2,500 Sustainability Award, 18 teams that received $500 to sustain and scale their projects, and student teams from Ciena Solutions Challenge Model Schools in Atlanta, Georgia, and Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. From earthquake emergency backpacks in Kazakhstan to green roofs in Peru, these projects showcase the talents of youth creators and changemakers from around the world.

Congratulations to all the student teams who participated in the 2023-2024 Ciena Solutions Challenge, including the student teams below from Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Georgia, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Mauritius, Nigeria, Peru, Tanzania, Uganda, United States, and Zimbabwe.

2024 Ciena Solutions Challenge Sustainability Awards ($2,500)


Project: Sustainable Tourism – Networks and Partnerships
Site: PEI Simpliciano Campolim de Almeida (Nova Campina, São Paulo, Brazil)
Educator: Ivanete Landim
Essential Question: How can we enable and strengthen sustainable tourism through partnerships with the school community?


Project: Fisher for the Future
Site: Fisher Park Summit Alternative Public School (Ottawa, Ontario, Canada)
Educator: Meghan Polowin and Cameron Wallace
Essential Question: How can we contribute sustainable solutions for an equitable, sustainable, and better world?


Project: CAFELAB, to Balance the Coffee Ecosystem
Site: Municipal Montessori Educational Institution, San Francisco Branch (Pitalito, Huila, Colombia)
Educator: Ramon Maje Floriano
Essential Question: How can we contribute to the reduction of environmental pollution generated by all the coffee waste?


Project: Frugal Scopes
Site: Gandhi High Vidyalaya (Purulia, West Bengal, India)
Educator: Sajal Ghosh
Essential Question: How can we foster deep interest in science in a large class at an early age?

Project: How Can I Care, Earth to Ozone Layer?
Site: Government Girls Senior Secondary School (Indora) (Kāngra, Himachal Pradesh, India)
Educator: Mohan Sharma
Essential Question: How can we safeguard the earth and ozone layer for a better sustainable future?

Site: Santamayee Girls High School (Purulia, West Bengal, India)
Educator: Susmita Roy Chowdhury
Essential Question: How can we promote a supportive environment for girls to combat period poverty?

Projects: Blind Navigator | Wellness Venture | SHIELD: System for Halting Illegal Exploitation and Ensuring Lasting Defense for Women
Site: Vikas Bharati Public School (Delhi, India)
Educator: Anni Kumar
Essential Questions: How can blind individuals overcome barriers to independence and safety in navigating visually oriented environments?; How can AI-integrated devices enhance disease detection and healthcare accessibility in government hospitals effectively?; What innovative techniques can be developed and implemented to effectively combat human trafficking in India?

Projects: Carbon Emission Predictor | Dementia Guard
Site: Kamla Nehru Public School (Phagwara, Punjab, India)
Educator: Tanu Monga
Essential Questions: How can we drastically reduce carbon emissions while ensuring sustainable development and economic prosperity?; How can we alleviate stress and loneliness while supporting dementia patients effectively?


Site: Leap English and Digital (Surabaya, East Java, Indonesia)
Educator: Mieke Puspita
Essential Question: How can we help kids find books suitable for their age, enhancing their reading experiences?


Project: QuickQuake Backpack
Site: Nazarbayev Intellectual School in Astana (Astana, Kazakhstan)
Educator: Arman Imansharipova
Essential Question: How can students influence global society through improving preparedness for an earthquake using available materials?


Projects: CULTURAL VIBES | Walkie | The Peers
Site: iEARN-Kenya / Mzwanenyi Secondary School (Mombasa, Taita Taveta, Kenya) Olympic High School (Nairobi, Kibra, Kenya), and University Of Eldoret Secondary School (Eldoret, Kenya)
Educator: Beldine Atieno
Essential Question: How can we preserve our culture and indigenous languages?; How can the blind navigate safely?; How can we identify and manage stress among youths?


Project: Tecomarian Endemic Garden
Site: St Mary’s College (Rose Hill, Mauritius)
Educator: Aashna Nuckched and Cindy Seechurn
Essential Question: How can we educate our students on conservation of our flora and waste management?


Project: Solution X
Site: Caleb British International School (Lagos, Nigeria)
Educator: Victor Okosun
Essential Question: How can we ensure positive economic growth and zero poverty through decent work?

Project: Household Appliances Innovation Powered by Solar
Site: Egba Odeda High School (Elba Odeda Community, Abeokuta, Nigeria)
Educator: Ebenezer Anyadiegwu
Essential Question: How can solar-powered innovations revolutionize household appliances for sustainable living and energy efficiency?

Project: Sustainable Roots
Site: Kayron International College (Sangotedo, Lagos, Nigeria)
Educator: Gloria Livwell-Anamonye
Essential Question: How can our school foster sustainability to empower future leaders and nurture a green community?


Project: Bring Men Back to Nature
Site: Colegio de Ciencias (Huánuco, Perú)
Educator: Carlos Chiu
Essential Question: Most people live in cities. How can we bring nature to cities and to men?

United States

Project: Aquaponics; Feeding the World From Confined Spaces
Site: Davis Middle School, Compton Unified School District (Compton, California, United States)
Educator: Jose Gonzales
Essential Question: What solutions can we uncover in order to feed communities in limited spaces?

Project: Tree Team Myco-Remediation!
Site: Peak to Peak High School (Lafayette, Colorado, United States)
Educator: Kristie Letter
Essential Questions: How can we remediate soil with mycelium and plant native mini-forests?

Projects: 3D Printing Personalized Knee Implants: Novel Computational Geometric Models for Stem Cell Regeneration in Meniscus Tears
Site: American Heritage School (Plantation, Florida, United States)
Educator: Juliana Caulkins
Essential Question: How can an accessible meniscus implant be designed and validated computationally, biomechanically, and biologically?

Project: Building a Healthy Community
Site: Savanna Oaks Middle School (Fitchburg, Wisconsin, United States)
Educator: Karie Huttner
Essential Question: Which Global Goal matters the most to you and what could you do or create?

2024 Ciena Solutions Challenge Sustainability Awards ($500)


Project: Beyond the Checkout: Empowering Student Voices through Sustainable Consumption Podcasts
Site: Secretaria da Educação do Estado de São Paulo (São Paulo, Brazil)
Educator: Edmundo Gomes, Jr.
Essential Question: How can student podcasts empower youth voices and create informed consumption choices?


Project: Menu Calories: One Step Toward Healthy Eating
Site: Sachkhere Public School N2 (Sachkhere, Imereti, Georgia)
Educators: Maia Tkemaladze and Eliso Abramishvili
Essential Question: How do we use tracking calories and technologies to maintain healthy habits?


Project: The Solar-Powered Mower Project
Site: St. Catherine Senior High School (Agbakope, Volta, Ghana)
Educator: Leticia Emefa Yawa Akabutoo
Essential Question: How do we address problems caused by climate change which adversely affect education?


Project: StrawLabs: Turning Waste Straw into Useful Paper
Site: Seth Anandram Jaipuria School (Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India)
Educators: Shweta Awasthi and Poonam Kochitty
Essential Question: How can we find a solution to hazardous stubble burning in India?

Project: CURE
Site: Natco School of Learning (Guntur, Andra Pradesh, India)
Educator: Kornepati Vijetha
Essential Question: How can we cease the usage of plastic?


Project: IQ Interschools Challenge TV Program in collaboration with Bozeman High School Hawkers Speech & Debate in Tanzania
Site: TELTA/Mnarani Secondary School (Mwanza, Tanzania)
Educator: Mahamba Sebastian Ilhonde
Essential Question: Does cross-culture collaboration help to transform the underserved public secondary schools in Tanzania?


Projects: Better Me | Sanctity Initiative | Care for Down There
Site: Gayaza High School (Kampala, Uganda)
Educator: John Bakayana
Essential Questions: How can we solve the problem of lack of access to mental health doctors?; How can we effectively educate communities about the importance of clean water and proper sanitation?; How can we ensure information about reproductive health is propagated?

Project: Save Earth Today to Survive Tomorrow
Site: The JDO Rwabu Resource Center (Mukono City, Uganda)
Educator: Kakaire Emmanuel
Essential Question: Are humans responsible for climate change?

Site: Kiwango Umea Primary School (Mukono Town, Uganda)
Educator: Jonathan Tumwine
Essential Question: How can we end hunger, achieve food security, and improve nutrition in our community?

Site: Perkcares Foundation (Jinja, Uganda)
Educator: Elizabeth Rwabu
Essential Question: What should be our concern when it comes to the local communities near Lake Victoria?

United States

Project: The Sustainable Streetlight: Creating a Cleaner Energy Source that Runs Off of Solar, Wind, and Hydropower for Our Community
Site: Ponus Ridge STEAM Academy (Norwalk, Connecticut, United States)
Educator: Colleen Brosnan
Essential Question: How can we make more sustainable energy?

Project: A Novel Coated Lignin Anode for Increasing Voltage Output in Galvanic Cells
Site: Cypress Bay High School (Weston, Florida, United States)
Educator: Jay Rosenberg
Essential Question: Can lignin be a suitable and eco-friendly alternative to increase voltage in galvanic cells?

Project: Louisville Teen Talk Podcast
Site: Sowing Seeds With Faith (Louisville, Kentucky, United States)
Educator: Kiara James
Essential Question: How can Teen Talk create a safe-to-have, empowering dialogue within marginalized communities?

Project: Clearing the Air: Taking Our Bathrooms Back
Site: Central Middle School (Kansas City, Missouri, United States)
Educator: Andrea Cook
Essential Question: How can we create a school environment that discourages vaping?

Project: Beyond Pixel Prowess
Site: Paseo Academy of Fine and Performing Arts (Kansas City, Missouri, United States)
Educator: Lindsay-Darshaun Murray
Essential Question: How might we empower students with distinctive skills in esports to showcase their talents?

Project: Teen Voices for Change: Tackling Injustice Through Dynamic Podcasting
Site: Santa Fe BGC Teen Center (Santa Fe, New Mexico, United States)
Educator: Brianna Martinez
Essential Question: How can teenage podcasters empower listeners to address pressing societal issues for positive social change?

Projects: The Economics of Love: A Graphic Novel | Photography for Action: Goal #8 Fair Employment | Sustainability Through Fair Employment: Community Action Can Have a Global Impact
Site: Cedar Ridge High School (Hillsborough, North Carolina, United States)
Educator: Andrea DeGette
Essential Questions: How does a single mom make it on her own? How can a photograph be a powerful force for social change? How can local student media make a difference in the big picture?


Project: VieJobs Personnel Services
Site: Eveline High School (Bulawayo, Zimbabwe)
Educator: Jobert Ngwenya
Essential Question: Can secondary and high school learners get gig work opportunities while continuing their education?

Ciena Solutions Challenge Model Schools Program (Ottawa, Ontario, Canada)

Notre Dame High School

Project: For The Youth
Educator: Greg Zapasek
Essential Question: How can we improve the education system for underprivileged students?

Ridgemont High School

Project: Girls in STEM
Educator: Ryan Smith
Essential Question: How can we give Ridgemont Girls more STEM-based opportunities and get them inspired in STEM?

Project: ELD Food Drive
Educator: Ryan Smith
Essential Question: How can we encourage our community to support people with food insecurity?

Project: Anti-Bullying Pink Shirts
Educator: Ryan Smith
Essential Question: How do we increase participation in Pink Shirt Day?

St. Patrick’s High School

Project: Student Welcome Club
Educator: Jillian Brasset
Essential Question: How can we welcome newcomers to our school? What are their needs?

Ciena Solutions Challenge Model Schools Program (Atlanta, Georgia, United States)

Benjamin E. Mays High School

Project: Code Clean
Educator: Alesa Barron
Essential Question: How can we better clean schools/buses?

Project: Problem Solved
Educator: Alesa Barron
Essential Question: How can we create talc-free loose powder?

Project: Farmer’s Harvest App
Educator: Alesa Barron
Essential Question: Why is healthy food expensive?

Project: Mental Health Era
Educator: Alesa Barron
Essential Question: What causes teen mental illness?

Project: Mobile Wash
Educator: Alesa Barron
Essential Question: How can we improve homeless hygiene?

Project: MindScope
Educator: Alesa Barron
Essential Question: How are we able to give immobile/unable students a better virtual school experience?

The B.E.S.T. Academy (6-12)

Project: Entrepreneurs Engineering Sustainable Solutions for Food Deserts
Educator: Ruquanda Epps-Primas
Essential Question: How can we ensure that our community has access to nutrient-rich foods?

Coretta Scott King Young Women’s Leadership Academy

Project: CSK Green Futures Collective
Educator: Edjohnier Phillips
Essential Question: How can CSKYWLA empower its community to combat food insecurity and promote sustainable well-being?

Learn more and register for the 2025 Ciena Solutions Challenge

Educators may apply for a 2025 Sustainability Award starting in September 2024. Register for more information and resources to get involved, and learn more about students’ projects in the Ciena Solutions Challenge Project Gallery.

Ready to celebrate youth voice and innovation? Register for the upcoming YouthMADE Festival (May 6-19) to connect live with some of the teams above and to learn more about opportunities to showcase student-led work in your own community.

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