IDEA X Challenge Winners Aim to Make Langley a More Liveable Place

May 24, 2023


Those in attendance at this week’s I.D.E.A. X Challenge got a glimpse into the future of what their hometown could one day look like, as teams of District students presented projects to a panel of judges that aimed to answer a single, wide-reaching question:  

What might Langley look like 50 years from now?  

In total, nine teams of secondary students from across the District took part in the Challenge, with each group having eight minutes to present their ideas and plans to the panel, which included community planners, a university professor, and the mayors of both the Township of Langley and Langley City.  

After the judges deliberated, three teams were chosen as winners: Radiant, SUStainable Chaos, and Team Astro. Each winning team, which happened to be from Walnut Grove Secondary School, received $5,000 in scholarship funds. Two other teams, SAJE (Walnut Grove Secondary) and SquareOne (Aldergrove Community Secondary School), were awarded honourable mentions and received $2,500 each.   

“I think the winners were chosen because I think they had the most depth of research. They had dug the deepest into those particular topics and I also think they presented a very wide sort of approach to the problem. It wasn’t just one solution. It was multi-layered in terms of their solutions,” said George Kozlovic, Director of Instruction at the Langley School District, who was also one of the main organizers of the event.  

“For somebody who has lived in Langley for 20 years, and plans to live here for another 20 years, I know that these are the people that are going to be making decisions in the future, and make Langley a livable place for all of us, and I’m excited about that!” he added. 

Radiant’s project focused on adding a type of SkyTrain and constructing algae powered buildings in Willoughby. Sustainable Chaos’ presentation focused on vertical farming, and an underground pipeline system to transport household waste, as well as implementing rainwater collection and rooftop farming on buildings. Team Astro’s project centered on rezoning parts of Langley, improving the traffic light network, and adding streets signs in the Indigenous hən̓q̓əmin̓əm language, all strategies said to be efforts which increase inclusivity, efficiency, and help the environment.  

“It was absolutely fantastic to see the quality of the students, their presentations and all the great ideas,” said Township of Langley Mayor Eric Woodward, who served as one of the judges.  

Woodward was especially intrigued by some of the students’ ideas surrounding sustainable transportation and modern farming techniques. 

Langley City Mayor Nathan Pachal was also impressed with urban farming and land conservation. He was quick to note that despite their young age, the student teams brought forth many well-thought-out ideas that could, one day down the road, become reality. 

“Never underestimate what young people can come up with,” Pachal said.  

For each team, a key element of their respective projects was to include Indigenous perspectives. Each team did well in that regard, said Katie Pearson, the executive director of the Lower Fraser Valley Aboriginal Society and one of the event judges.   

“One of the key points that I saw was the engagement with Sesmelot (Fern Gabriel), the hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ District teacher from Kwantlen First Nation,” Pearson said. “I love that they were able to connect with her, learn from her, and then pass on her teaching.” 

As part of the closing of the event, sponsor teachers and District staff who dedicated many hours working with the teams on their learning journeys since January, were thanked for their efforts. 

The annual event would not have been possible without the support from the Langley School District Foundation, which helped source sponsors which included: VWR Capital Corporation, Wesmont Foundation, KPU Melville School of Business, and the Langley Advance Times. 

To view photos from the event, see gallery below:

Alea Iacta Est (D.W. Poppy Secondary)

To view videos of each team’s presentation, see below: