St. Luke's Hackathon

to all who made Hackathon 2020
a huge success! 

Full story and photo gallery

Make it Better is the Hackathon theme and a call to action: Find a way to make the world a little better—for humanity, yourself, your dog or a random stranger. All you need to do is identify a problem, begin imagining how to solve it, and you're well on your way to hacking. You then have 30 dedicated hours to begin to make your idea a reality!

The Prospector Theater—and their employees known as Prospects—may provide inspiration. The Prospector is a first-run movie theater providing meaningful employment to adults with disabilities. Prospects will share—in "Challenge" videos on this page and in person at the Hackathon—how they make the world a little better and where they could use a little help.

Hackers have the option of tackling Prospector Challenges or working on their own unrelated ideas. 

St. Luke's Hackathon is for all students (any school) in grades 5-12.

Who is the Hackathon for?

Hackathons are a great place to practice and learn about coding, fabrication and engineering—but anyone who enjoys creative thinking and problem-solving will embrace the Hackathon spirit. 

No knowledge of coding or engineering is required. Just be willing to have a good time while learning something new. 

Open to any student at any school in grades 5-12. 

You are not required to stay overnight (though most students do). The Hackathon is well supervised by faculty and parent volunteers. Parents may stay over with their children (bring a sleeping bag!).

For more information, please contact designLab Director Michael Mitchell at

What will I make?

There are two Hackathon Make it Better tracks you may choose from: 

Track One: Prospector Theater
These hacks will be judged by how creatively they solve a problem related to the Prospector Theater and its Prospects (employees). They'll identify challenges and you can help to make it better. Watch Prospector Challenge #1: Get the Popcorn in the Bag (featured on this page).

Track Two: Your Own Idea
These hacks will be judged by how creatively they solve a problem that makes something better—that's an intentionally vast range that includes big ideas like saving our environment to smaller solutions like how to keep your soda from losing its fizz. It's all good.

For both tracks: If it's creative and you've done your best to turn your concept into some kind of working model—you're a hacker! 

Prospector Challenge #1: Get the Popcorn in the Bag! Find out about more Prospector challenges at the Hackathon.

A Real-World "Hack"

The Prospector Theater is the perfect partner. Founder Valerie Jensen is a St. Luke's parent, trustee and...hacker! Valerie is an out-of-the-box thinker who solved a real-world problem by turning a soon-to-be-demolished theater into a thriving non-profit that makes the world better!

The Prospector's mission is for employees known as Prospects "to sparkle, shine, and transform our passions into professions." Over 230 Prospects are able to sparkle and shine thanks to the Prospector Theater. 

Read more in The New York Times, In Ridgefield, a Movie Theater with a Lofty Mission and Forbes The 'Prospects' Look Good For This Local Connecticut Movie Theater, Gotham Gal blog--Prospector Theater, Valerie Jensen, Woman Entrepreneur.

2020 Hackathon Schedule

8:00 - 8:30am        Registration & Table Setup
8:30 - 9:00am        Welcome & Opening Remarks
12:00 - 12:30pm    Lunch
6:00 - 6:30pm        Dinner
11:30pm - 12:00am    Late-Night Snack
8:00 - 9:00am        Continental Breakfast
9:00 - 9:30am        Transition from Hacking to Presentation
10:30 - 12:30pm    Judging
12:30 - 1:00pm      Lunch
1:00 - 1:30pm        Show & Tell
1:30 - 2:00pm  Finalists' Presentations, Awards & Closing Remarks

Meals and snacks are provided and you are welcome to bring your own snacks and beverages as well—no nuts please.

Hackathon News

Hackathon 2020 Leading Voices Blog Post by designLab's Michael Mitchell

St. Luke's Hackathon Open to All 5-12th Graders New Canaan Patch

Hackathon in New Canaan New Canaan Advertiser

Hackathon is one-of-a-kind at St. Luke's New Canaan Advertiser

"Don't Miss This!" Letter from Julia Gabriele

"Come Hack St. Luke's!" News from the Hilltop

St. Luke’s Hackathon Draws Innovators for Weekend New Canaan Advertiser

St. Luke’s Hacked Again New Canaan Advertiser

Why Your School Should Be Hacked NAIS Magazine

We’ve Been Hacked
 NAIS Inspiration Lab

Hackathon Video

Photos from previous Hackathons

St. Luke’s School is a secular private school in New Canaan, CT for grades 5 through 12 serving 25 towns in Connecticut and New York. Our exceptional academics and diverse co-educational community foster students’ intellectual and ethical development and prepare them for top colleges. St. Luke’s Center for Leadership builds the commitment to serve and the confidence to lead.