Freshmen Career Readiness Center students Jamisen McCrary, Preston Trundy, Kyle Callahan and Zachary Fust earned Second Place during Regional Competition of the annual Kentucky Lt. Governor Entrepreneurship Challenge and will compete at Finals in Lexington on Saturday, April 28.
The youth at Riverview Opportunity Center designed and created the Helping Tree, PVC pipe arranged for the user to carry several pounds of bagged merchandise.
The team was required to create a useful product, form a business (which they named McCallahan Trust an amalgam of their names), develop a PowerPoint, make a video and demonstrate the uniqueness and versatility of the Helping Tree during Regional competition at the University of Louisville.
“I knew we had a good product but I honestly did not think we would place,” Jamison said.
Preston added when the team heard their names called, the reaction was surreal.
“There was like 20 seconds of dead silence then a bunch of screams from three alpha males,” he smiled.
Regional honors included certificates for each individual presented by Lt. Gov. Jenean Hampton along with golden tickets, a pizza party from Riverview and a $4,000 scholarship to Asbury College.
The concept for a device that can assist patrons was actually inspired by a random thought from Preston after seeing people struggle with shopping carts.
“I googled ways people transported their purchases to a car and was intrigued by this hand-held tool with a hook and arms,” he said. “It was not as bulky as a shopping cart because bags can be hung in a variety of ways.”
The team developed a prototype but decided the handle needed changing.
“We went with the hook-shaped handle so the grip would be more firm,” Kyle said adding judges liked the lightweight device.
Zachary confided the team was confident in their presentation which likely helped against their competition against 12 teams from the Louisville area.
“The time and effort invested in our product took several weeks working in a very small space, which was a challenge to overcome in itself,” he said. “Plus, we met after school and on weekends which resulted in a product we were proud of and I think it showed at regionals.”
Preparing for state finals means a little tweaking on the Helping Tree and a busy April 28 for Preston as that is North Bullitt High School’s prom night.
“It is going to be an exciting, fast-paced day,” he said.
Two other CRC teams participated in regional competition.
Ashley Scrogham, Hannah Fields and Hannah Porter worked together on an Attention Bracelet which can be worn snuggly like a wristwatch and contains electronic sensors that detect a person’s heartbeat slowing down when attention is lost.
“The Attention Bracelet is made of hypoallergenic rubber, steel and batteries,” Ashley explained. “Our purpose was a device that alerted its user to pay attention.”
Despite several missed weather days and the loss of a team member, Hannah Fields said the team worked well together.
"Once we had our product idea, everything really fell into place,” she said.
However, during the regional competition, computer problems emerged which was beyond their power.
Hannah Porter said all teams had a total of 30 minutes to give their presentations. The computer malfunction reduced their time to 15 minutes.
“Needless to say we had to talk faster to pack everything in,” she said. “Judges noted that we did a good job and overcome an expected problem well.”
The team hopes to add McKenzie Thomas when they compete in the Lt. Governor’s third annual Entrepreneurship Challenge.
Interestingly, neither team wanted to reveal concepts they are considering for that challenge. The same is true for the two person team of Hayden Casey and Dilan Brown who created Mochila Rechargeable, an electrical circuit backpack that uses solar power and batteries.
Hayden said such a backpack would be very useful to any grade level student.
“We thought it turned out pretty decent,” he said. It is made of flexible, yet durable, fabric, solar panels and Plexiglas which makes it as resistant as possible,”
The challenge was creating solar panels large enough to retain the sun’s energy but not so big the backpack is cumbersome to carry.
Dilan responded they found a solar panel size that was just right.
“These panels are used in the hiking and school community and fit our backpack,” Dilan said adding Mochila is Spanish for backpack.
The collaborative creation also challenged the duo with its investment of materials vs. product purchase price.
“We want to manufacture a quality backpack but still keep costs economical so the buyer could afford it,” Dilan said. “At $150 per unit, stores could retail it for $200.”
Hayden has the electrical expertise and can contribute to the Mochilla Rechargeable to be as user friendly as possible.
“There are two different ways to charge,” he explained. “Solar panels and ports for batteries with a minimal of electric chords connected to outlets. This makes it easy to use and affordable.”
Notice this is a two-member team and they competed at Regionals. Dilan and Hayden are already looking ahead when Brandon Casey joins their team.
“We’ve got several ideas milling around in our minds,” Dilan smiled.
Riverview Principal Shannon Hall praised his students and their efforts.
“I am so proud of all of these students,” he said. “This competition was above and beyond the call of everyday school expectations and requirements. They did not receive a grade or extra credit. This challenge was optional and these kids could have easily blown me off when I presented it to them. Instead, they accepted the challenge and began immediately planning their groups and projects. It was great to see them work in groups, planning and executing their ideas. Those are skills they will carry with them for the rest of their lives and as an educator, it’s exciting to know that the future is in such good hands.”
Hall also thanked his staff for their encouragement.
“Not only do the kids deserve a big shout-out, but I also have to recognize Teacher Cathy Todd, Career Coach Shannon Rickard, Counselor Rick Dawson and Assistant Principal Rich Watson,” Hall said. “They sacrificed planning periods and personal time to make sure these kids had what they needed to compete. I am fortunate to have a staff that goes the extra distance for their students.”