This time of year is so busy for our Eighth Graders. It’s hard to believe that many of them have their schedules set already for their freshman year of high school! This past Thursday they left for Washington D.C. and before we know it, Graduation will be here. One of their programs just recently completed was St. Mark’s Lion’s Den, our version of Shark Tank. This was a program that challenged the creativity, idea development, and innovation of our students.
Although I have written about the program in an earlier article, I wanted to share with you the final presentation. On April 5th, we hosted this event, which began with a simple luncheon for the class and our invited guests. The guest list included our judges: Ken Trump (Parent and School Safety Consultant), Dave Clifford (Former Parent and Professor at John Carroll University who teaches a course on Stem and Entrepreneurship), Jeff Ritchie (Parent and Artist), Brian Okin (Parent, Chef and Owner of The Butcher and Brewer and Graffiti Restaurants), George Vlosich (Owner of GV Art and Design and Artist), and Fr. John (Pastor). Other invited guests included teachers from our students’ respective high schools including David Keehan (St. Ed’s), Alan Duncan (Holy Name), Patty Schwarber (Magnificat), and Dennis Cushing (SJA). Other special guests included Ann Marie Winchester and Patsy Gettens (G&G), Dolores Bruno (Curriculum Integration Specialist for the Diocese of Cleveland), Jennifer Berardinelli and John Stipek (Assistant Superintendents for the Diocese of Cleveland), and Joe and Pam Pulizzi (Parents and Founder of Content Marketing Institute).
To prepare for this event, the students were challenged to envision, create, and prepare a “pitch” of a business idea. They had to decide who their targeted market would be, how they would deliver the product, what the cost factor would be, how would they advertise the product, and the challenges they would face.
Following lunch, there were thirteen presentations from twenty-two students. I have to tell you that the presentations and confidence with which our students spoke were impressive. Following each presentation, the panel of judges posed questions to our young entrepreneurs. Once the presentations were completed, the judges voted on which product and entrepreneur would move on to a larger competition to be held at St. Ignatius High School next weekend.
Congratulations to all our Eighth Grade students and especially to these students who presented their ideas in this, our first competition: Maggie D. & Sarah H., Molly H. & Bea T., Maeve B. & Jackie K., Morgan J., Emma H. & Kaleigh K., Katie K. & Maddie K., Adam P., Michael K. & Eddie H., Antonio M. & Jack P., Jameson B. & Thomas K., Logan C. & Aaron H., Maggie H., and Theresa S. The following students were awarded cash prizes for their products: Adam P. took 3rd Place, Emma and Kaleigh took 2ndPlace, and Molly and Bea received the 1st Place Award and will take their product on to St. Ignatius.
Congratulations to Mr. Joe Pulizzi and Mr. Dave Clifford, who were awarded Humanitarian Awards in appreciation of their visionary guidance, dedication, and professionalism for the students of St. Mark School.
A special note of thanks goes to Mr. Gonyeau for the creation of this novel idea as well as his preparation on a very well run event. I left the event feeling very proud of both my faculty and students, and so very thankful for the support and commitment of our families.