Westlake students pitch business ideas to local judges

Westlake students pitch business ideas to local judges

Imagine finding out your location, directions, maps and history from a tiny device on your eyeglasses. Westlake High School senior Robert Spruill, III, and sophomore Travil Greene have a business plan to create it and they recently pitched the idea in their business and financial literacy class.

Welcome to the Wolverine Bank Tank, Westlake’s version of the popular television show, “Shark Tank.” Created by business education teacher Adrian Carroll, the format provides students with an opportunity to present products and ideas to a panel of judges.

More than 75 Westlake students presented ideas and products to a panel of judges at the first Wolverine Bank Tank. The judges spent time judging student ideas and business plans from Dec. 8 through Dec. 10. The Bank Tank was composed of several administrators from Charles County Public Schools and Charles County government as well as business executives from national and local companies including Sam’s Club, Chick-Fil-A and Elena’s Deli restaurant.

Participating students are enrolled in business and financial literacy classes at Westlake and spent the past couple of months refining their products and developing business plans. During the three-day event, students headed to the school auditorium and spent three minutes pitching a product or idea to the Wolverine Bank Tank.

Spruill and Greene said the presentation experience was nerve racking but extraordinary. Others, like senior Rose Sciarratta, felt confident in front of the judges and her peers. Sciarratta came up with the idea to create a thought recorder. The recorder, when connected to Wi-Fi, would upload daily thoughts, including the time, location and date of the thought.

Both Spruill and Greene aspire to be businessmen. “This assignment has made me realize to never be scared to express your ideas and who you are,” Spruill said. “You have to remember that it is also extremely important to be smart with your money and investments,” Greene added. Sciarratta plans on starting her own business after high school. “I meet with close friends all the time to discuss business opportunities,” Sciarratta said.

Carroll plans to expand the event for the second quarter and incorporate prizes for the top three products/ideas. “My belief was that each student walked away with a better understanding of how the real business world works, and each of them understands what it takes to research and develop products to be pitched to potential buyers or investors. Also, the project demonstrates the importance of public speaking and what methods to use to get up and deliver a powerful and well thought out presentation,” said Carroll.

Charles County Public Schools provides 26,500 students in grades prekindergarten through 12 with an academically challenging education. Located in Southern Maryland, Charles County Public Schools has 36 schools that offer a technologically advanced, progressive and high quality education that builds character, equips for leadership and prepares students for life, careers and higher education.

The Charles County public school system does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age or disability in its programs, activities or employment practices. For inquiries, please contact Dr. Patricia Vaira, Title IX/ADA/Section 504 Coordinator (students) or Pamela K. Murphy, Title IX/ADA/Section 504 coordinator (employees/ adults), at Charles County Public Schools, Jesse L. Starkey Administration Building, P.O. Box 2770, La Plata, MD 20646; 301-932-6610/301-870-3814. For special accommodations call 301-934-7230 or TDD 1-800-735-2258 two weeks prior to the event.

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