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YRS 2012 – The finale

It has been a few weeks since the dust has settled after this years Young Rewired State and I’m only just getting round to writing this final blog post about the Festival of Code. The memories are getting a little hazy, but I can still remember clearly how awesome it was! Emma has a great post on the whole week over on the Cogapp blog and you can recap on my two earlier blog posts: Day 1, Days 2-3.

We had a fairly uneventful journey up to the Custard Factory in Birmingham. The Custard Factory itself is a crazy mishmash of boutique shops, artists studios, a couple of bars and a gig venue. We got there at about the same time that the masses of pizza arrived, which was good because we were starving! After dinner we gathered our teams in a convenient space in the theatre next door and commandeered it for the evening. There the teams beavered away on perfecting their projects and their presentations. Late in to the evening everyone went to bed in their designated sleeping areas (where I believe they were up until the wee hours continuing to work.)

Saturday was all about the presentations. All the centres were split into teams, we were in Team Atari along with St Cuthberts, Birmingham City, I-Dat, BBC Scotland and CCC BMC. So after very little sleep (adults from not having brought enough bedding, and the kids from just not actually going to sleep) all our teams piled into the theatre and waited nervously for their turns. Luckily (or from the kids point of view… unluckily) our Brighton teams were up first, I think this gave a slight advantage, the judges would be less hot and tired and the same for the kids. Speaking of judges, our teams were judged by Harry MetcalfDallas Campbell of TV fame and SAP‘s (the main sponsors) representatives. Two of our teams, World Health and Way To Go were voted through to the finals, all of our teams did an amazing job though in creating and presenting their projects.

The final presentations were pretty amazing, with a huge stage and lighting setup and an even bigger (scarier) audience. Each category was called up, and the finalists were able to present their projects to everyone attending. We had teams in the ‘Code A Better Country’ and ‘Best in Show’ categories, but there were also the ‘Best Example of Code’ and ‘I wish I’d Thought of That’ categories. All the teams that presented did a marvellous job. I’d have been terrified having to present in front of 500-odd people, plus the high profile judges. These were entrepreneur and model Lily Cole, technologist Conrad Wolfram, local developer Aral Balkan, No. 10 advisor Jonathan Luff and SAP senior director Thomas Grassl. The atmosphere was amazing with everyone just willing all the participants do well!

As mentioned in my previous posts, we had four teams and projects, luckily the videos of the 1st round presentations are now up so we can have the teams explain their projects themselves.

World Wide Health

Monty, Jacob, Reuben, Callum, Andrew

World Wide Health got through to the final, but were marred by technical difficulties (lack of wi-fi) in the presentation hall. Still, an amazing achievement! Remember these guys were only between 11 and 13.

The Matrix Engine

Max, Calum, Sophie

The Matrix Engine team had a great project, very technically ambitious! They did a great job of fielding some tough questions from the judges.

Way to Go

Charlotte , Joe , Lucy, Robert, Ruben.

The Way to Go team got through to the finals in the ‘Best in show’ category, deservedly so I think. They had a super slick project with an even slicker presentation. Unfortunately they lost out to Smart Move… but the judges thought that the project was too good to miss out on winning something, so they created an entirely new category entitled ‘Should exist’. I agree, it definitely should exist!


James, Harry, Vesko, Jonathan.

These guys did an excellent job. They tackled a huge and technically difficult problem!

So as you can see for yourselves, the teams were all amazing! I’d like to give some shouts to other teams around the country that I thought were exceptionally good, there were so many projects though, it’s a shame I didn’t get to see every single presentation, still all those YouTube videos are waiting to be explored! So, in no particular order…

Why Waste a Vote? A super cool idea, and very worthy project. We need to get more young folks interested in politics and voting cleverly. (video)

Manchester Image Archive. I thought this was great, being able to compare what places currently look like directly on a Google Map is super slick! (video)

Medal Run. Informative, cute and super sweet parallax scrolling! (video)

I hope you can now see for yourselves and agree with me in saying that all the kids involved were AMAZING! Yes, I have definitely overused that word, but it’s only the truth.

If you are a young person that would like to get involved in 2013 then have a read on the YRS site about what is involved and then sign up. If you are an old person wanting to help with mentoring or anything else, do the same! NixonMcInnes and Cogapp will no doubt be involved next year, how could we not after such an amazing show of talent!

ps, thanks once again to all our help and mentors this year: Adam PoolerAdam YeatsAlick MighallCaroline MorrisDan WallmanDonna ComerfordGreg HadfieldIan Gilfeather, Jack Lang, Jesse SpeakJessica BowdenJohn WillshireMax St John, Mike Parris, Prem RoseRichard Freeman,Rob SheridanRoss BreadmoreSeb Lee-DelisleStephen FulljamesTim FallsTobias Quinn and the Lighthouse staff!


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