When we introduced the first-ever “Maker Prom” during our National Events in NYC in 2014, we had no idea just how successful it would be. So it was a given that we would have to bring it back for National Events 2015! Hundreds of National Medalists attended Maker Prom in June, which was held in the historic Roosevelt Hotel in Midtown Manhattan. Students had the opportunity to dance, make new friends, and create cool stuff!
Michaela Coplen, our summer intern and 2013 National Student Poet, called Maker Prom “everything that your normal prom wishes it could be.” Students only needed to show their National Medals to attend—Maker Prom is free and fun! Hands-on Maker Stations, from fashion sketching and corsage crafting to soundscapes, webmaking, the STEAM challenge, and synth kits, gave students the chance to create and play with new technology all while hanging out with the most creative and original teens from across the country.
Part of what makes Maker Prom so great is the people we work with to make it a one-of-a-kind experience. From Maker Prom’s inception, professional interior designer and event planner Cullen Simonson has worked with the Scholastic Awards to decorate the ballrooms and transform the space into something truly unique. Cullen also has something in common with the attendees: she also started creating at a young age. As she says, “my love for design started when I was a little girl . . . creativity has always run through my blood.” Her favorite part of designing Maker Prom is “seeing the smiles on [the students’] faces is what really makes the hard work worth it.”
Besides the amazing decorations, this year’s Maker Prom featured twelve Maker Stations. We worked with Hive NYC to bring some of the most creative and engaging organizations together for our event. The Mozilla Webmaker App station allowed students to build web content like comic strips, scrapbooks, and memes. From there, students could use LEDs to make corsages with Blink Blink or light-up jewelry with the New York Hall of Science. A team from Savannah College of Art and Design showed students how to create fashion sketches while littleBits and Carnegie Hall brought synth kits, laptops, and software to make music. Building Beats helped students take prom pictures using sonic technology. Maker State demoed the wildly popular Oculus Rift virtual-reality headgear and showed the students how to build nano-robots. Staff from Parsons School for Design at The New School were on-hand with visual poetry and the Stoked on STEAM crew brought light-up accessories. DJ P.U.D.G.E. kept the party going and the Scholastic Awards rounded out the night with tools and materials for the students to make their own zines!
We’re gearing up to make Maker Prom 2016 our best prom yet! In the meantime, keep creating and submitting your works to the Scholastic Awards—you just might get to experience Maker Prom again (or for the first time) at National Events next year!