HISD scholars think outside the box for inaugural Innovation Fair

HISD prides itself on the inventive and creative efforts of students from all corners of the huge, diverse district, and the participants in the 2023 Innovation Fair were no exception. The fair, held at The Ion in downtown Houston on Friday, Feb. 10, showcased 20 projects developed by elementary, middle, and high school students who pitched their ideas to a rotating audience of spectators, investors, mentors, and judges.

The Innovation Fair is an innovative collaboration itself between the G-Unity Business Lab, the HISD Department of Career and Technical Education, and the HISD Offices of Innovation and School Choice. Structured like a traditional science fair, the event was an opportunity for all HISD schools to submit project proposals that represent the four key elements of innovation: collaboration, ideation, implementation, and value creation.

“I’m so proud of our scholars and appreciate them being here supporting their ideas and their innovations,” said Joseph Williams, Executive Director of Performance, Innovation, and Equity at HISD. “It’s evident that they’re working together with their peers as wells as their sponsors and principals. Now we’re just hoping that more folks will connect with them. [There are] investors, business folks, and university professors here to hopefully get some funding behind their great ideas.” 

Many of the projects displayed at the Innovation Fair were focused on improving the lives of members of HISD students’ immediate communities, from hydroponic gardening and farmer’s markets to feed neighborhoods in food deserts or systems for affordable pet care.

“We’ve always thought that we’re lucky that we go to go [to Lawson],” said eighth grader Kimora Tate, presenting Lawson Middle School’s proposal for portable immersive art installations for underprivileged schools. “We all wanted to get together to show other schools what we do so that they can feel like they’re a part of us, too.”

Other proposals had a more universal focus, with plans to teach others about the benefits of recycling and developing cell phone apps to help users identify symptoms of various diseases and disorders.

No matter the scope, all of the proposed innovations showcased at the fair were big ideas developed by students with even bigger ambitions and an innate drive to leave a lasting, positive mark on the world around them.

The winning campuses below received glass trophies in recognition of their outstanding achievements in innovation, creativity, and inspiration.

High School Category

Most Innovative
Young Women’s College Preparatory Academy
“The Moss Wall”

Most Creative
North Forest High School
“Animal Grooming”

Most Inspirational
Sterling Early College High School
“Harris County Women Shelter”

Middle/Elementary Category

Most Innovative
Young Women’s College Preparatory Academy
“The Detoxifi”

Most Creative
Lawson Middle School
“Bringing Art to Life – An Immersive Experience”

Most Inspirational
Lanier Middle School
“The Peace Project”