Roycemore hosts first Adobe Creative Jam for HS students

Roycemore School in Evanston hosted the first ever Adobe Creative Jam for Illinois high school students on November 15, 2019.

A Creative Jam is a live tournament-style event that challenges students to use Adobe’s product suite to solve a predetermined, real-world scenario. Creative Jams were first conceived as a way to bring creative professionals together for a competition that allowed designers to showcase their skills.

They were expanded to university campuses as a way to engage college students and help them learn new digital skills.

Roycemore is the first high school to have hosted a Creative Jam in Illinois and Adobe plans to use this experience as a pilot for expansion of the concept nationally.

The event started with a presentation from the City of Evanston’s Chief Sustainability Officer, Kumar Jensen. Jensen shared Evanston’s Climate Action and Resilience Plan with students and focused on the “zero waste” initiative as the theme for the Creative Jam’s design brief.

The challenge presented to the student teams was to create a digital app that informs, motivates, and rewards the citizens of Evanston to achieve zero waste status.

After an intensive bootcamp that focused on the features of the Adobe XD software led by Adobe trainer Taylor Kobey, students were given two hours to tackle their challenge. Utilizing the encouragement and advice of mentors supplied by Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, the Roycemore high school students exercised their skill sets which included design thinking and digital literacy.

When the allotted time was up, eight teams had designed eight different prototypes ready to be presented to the judging panel, which was made up of professional industry experts.

“It was impressive to see how the students worked creatively and collaboratively in such an intense setting,” says Stefanie Rivera, Roycemore Upper School Division Head. “Not only did this occur with their fellow group members, but also with the Northwestern mentors who offered project management guidance and technical tips. It was really exciting to see everyone’s raw enthusiasm in motion.”

The winning prototype, Trackcycle, was designed by Sooliat (Senior), LeiLei (Junior), Jim (Junior), and Hanna (Freshman).

The app conceptualized the idea that users can recycle various materials at recycling centers that have been equipped with scanner technology. Every time a user recycles, they scan the app and accumulate points based on what material they recycled and where. An interactive map feature helps users look up where the closest recycling centers are and also provides information regarding how best to recycle certain materials.

The points earned could then theoretically be redeemed at local businesses who have signed up to be part of the initiative.

The winning team is looking to take Trackcycle from the design phase, to production, and eventually have a working app available to the public.

Susan Mango Curtis, Associate Professor at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, reflects on what the Creative Jam brought to the high school students who participated.

“We often hear from Northwestern alumni who want us to offer technical training on products that weren’t part of their college experience but now have a prominent place in their professional landscape,” he says. “These Roycemore students are getting to participate in a scenario where they learn new technology in a fast-paced, competitive setting. This is exactly what they can expect from their future work environments.”

About Roycemore School
For over 100 years Roycemore School has offered a college preparatory education for students in Preschool through High School. Intentionally small with a 6:1 student/teacher ratio, students are well known on campus and enjoy strong classroom rapport with faculty and staff. Ranked #5 among private K-12 Schools in Illinois by, Roycemore helps students achieve their goals whether they are seeking admission to small liberal arts colleges, large state universities, or Ivy League institutions. Learn more at

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