Announcing the Finalists!

Meet the Finalists

After reviewing hundreds of entries from across the country, Cooper Hewitt is pleased to announce the finalists for the 2018 National High School Design Competition. This year’s competition challenged students to design a solution for making the everyday—place, process, or object—more accessible for all. The finalists are: Emily Bryson and Natasja Enriquez, of Miami, FL; Yunru (Daisy) Chen and Adam Margolis, of Miami, FL; and Will Compton, Sean O’Neil, and Eddie Smith, of San Luis Obispo, CA. Congratulations!

EMILY BRYSON, AGE 18, AND NATASJA ENRIQUEZ, AGE 18
DESIGN AND ARCHITECTURE SENIOR HIGH SCHOOL, MIAMI, FL

Similar to correction tape, a child uses the Igbo tool on any surface to make a textured mark. Made for the living room of any child, though designed for the blind, it enables children who are blind to make art in a tangible way. For the broader public, this tool expands traditional ideas that art is two dimensional, and the sooner children push the limits, the more they can understand the vastness of the art world. Igbo broadens horizons for both the blind and the sighted.

YUNRU (DAISY) CHEN, AGE 18, AND ADAM MARGOLIS, AGE 18
DESIGN AND ARCHITECTURE SENIOR HIGH SCHOOL, MIAMI, FL

Understanding and interpreting information relayed in audio announcements can pose a challenge to the hearing-impaired. aVOIR’s goal is to improve awareness and alertness, and create efficiency and convenience in public places. aVOIR is a pre-installed smartphone software that uses location, cellular signal, and WiFi to connect to intercom systems and intercepts audio announcements made in public places. It then translates the audio into texts, which pop up as notifications on the user’s device.

WILL COMPTON, AGE 18, SEAN O’NEIL, AGE 18, AND EDDIE SMITH, AGE 17
SAN LUIS OBISPO HIGH SCHOOL, SAN LUIS OBISPO, CA

Our improved design of an octangular picnic table implements a removable seat that is easily detached by removing two pins and is equally simplistic to replace. This allows ADA-certified wheelchair access to two different sections of the table, without compromising the table’s structural integrity. The picnic table comfortably seats 10–14 adults.

Honorable Mentions

Cooper Hewitt is excited to announce 13 Honorable Mentions whose designs will be featured with the finalists in a poster exhibition at the museum.

  • Ellis Carter, age 14, Avi Goel, age 13, and Henry Pham, age 14
    Silver Creek High School, San Jose, CA
  • Nathan Childs, age 17, and Brandon Dockery, age 18
    Bel Air High School, Bel Air, MD
  • Joseph Consolo, age 17, Lourdes Garcia, age 17, and Karen Pena, age 17
    Design and Architecture Senior High School, Miami, FL
  • Daniela Contreras, age 17, Diego Macias, age 16, and Marisol McEwan, age 16
    Design and Architecture Senior High School, Miami, FL
  • Saniya Drake, age 15, and Dzifa Searcy, age 16
    Lindblom Math and Science Academy, Chicago, IL
  • Erik Gomez, age 17, Luanna Montes, age 17, and Faith Sabar, age 16
    Design and Architecture Senior High School, Miami, FL
  • Garrett Heskett, age 17, and Madelene Stacey Villena, age 18
    John F. Kennedy High School, Granda Hills, CA
  • Lilah Lichtman, age 15
    The Park School of Baltimore, Baltimore, MD
  • Mason Ross, age 15
    John F. Kennedy Catholic High School, Burien, WA
  • Paulina Sanchez, age 17, and Ruth Suarez, age 17
    Design and Architecture Senior High School, Miami, FL
  • Ian Shang, age 16
    University High School, Irvine, CA
  • Sydney Strawn, age 15, and Leah Weiser, age 15
    La Jolla Country Day School, La Jolla, CA
  • Isabel Zischkau, age 18
    Father Lopez Catholic High School, Daytona Beach, FL

What’s Next for the Finalists

These three finalist teams will move on to Stage Two of the National High School Design Competition, where they’ll participate in inspiring mentoring activities including:

  • Team phone calls with a mentor to discuss how to further develop their design ideas, in April.
  • Travel to Austin, TX to attend Mentor Weekend on May 5–6 at the Austin Center for Design. Finalists will dive deep into the design process, learn more about how designers use design to solve everyday challenges, further discuss their design ideas, and prepare for the in-person judging.
  • Travel to New York City to attend the Judging Weekend on June 2–3, to visit Cooper Hewitt and explore the Access+Ability exhibition, and present in person to the judges.

Judges

On June 3, the finalists will present in person at Cooper Hewitt in New York City to a diverse panel of creative experts, including:

  • Caroline Baumann, Director, Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
  • Keith Kirkland, CEO and Co-founder, WearWork
  • Mike Milley, Director of Creative Consulting, LA Studio, Designworks, A BMW Group Company
  • Elise Roy, Inclusive Design Strategist
  • Davin Stowell, CEO, Smart Design
  • Todd Waterbury, Chief Creative Officer, Target Corporation