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Friday, March 23, 2018

Highlands Hosts Shark Tank Competition to Better Greater Cincinnati Region

Highlands Business Management students in Mrs. Elise Carter's class are learning real-life skills in a competition that aims to show off their presentation abilities and business know-how in Highlands version of The Shark Tank.

Modeled after the critically acclaimed and award-winning reality show that has reinvigorated entrepreneurship in America, Highlands has employed Fort Thomas superintendents, Highlands High School administration, and business community members to judge their Shark Tank.

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“The service learning project that Mrs. Carter has embedded into this course provides our students with the opportunity to develop valuable essential skills that will be transferable across any career, or area of study, that they may elect to enter into," said Assistant Superintendent and "shark judge", Bill Bradford.

"The students’ business plans included a thoughtful integration of research and development.  One of the most influential expectations of this project that will impact their real life experiences is in the collaboration and group accountability among peers, as well as the presentation aspect of articulating a business plan to an authentic audience.”

While the sharks on the show search to invest in the best businesses and products that America has to offer, Highlands sharks, including superintendent Dr. Karen Cheser and United Property Group owner, Dan Gorman, listened to students who have developed fundraisers for existing non-profit organizations. The goal for these non-profit organizations was to develop a service within their business plan that would allow them to give back or volunteer within the Greater Cincinnati community.

"I think overall, student preparation and buy-in were great. Students really invested the classroom time to learn about their non-profit organization and a few even did a site visit. For many, it was eye opening and required students to put themselves in another person’s experience," said Carter.

Gorman said that he was most impressed with the data presented while in the Shark Tank and the personal solutions to the needs facing non-profit organizations in our community.

“I really enjoy seeing how the kids perform under pressure,” he said. “Their eye contact, how well they know their subject matter, the confidence in the way they speak, how they're dressed; it's an amazing way to give them real life experience.”

Carter said initially some students had issues with time management,  but she brought back students had been through the Shark Tank before.

“The spoke to the class about how to best prepare, what they could do to be successful, and the expectations of the Shark Tank judges, which helped improve their performances."

The winning group was Brianna Frost, Candice Dillon and Katie Schneider. Their service project included creating tote bags for the victims leaving the Women's Crisis Center, an organization that helps women transition from abusive situations to positive living.

“We are looking for anyone who has extra fabric, sewing materials, buttons, or thread that they would like to donate to us,” said Frost. “Or anyone that would like to donate their time to come to the high school and help us construct these bags would be great too.”

Carter said the class, as a whole, will then gather volunteers in the school and in the Fort Thomas community to fulfill the goals and objectives of the winning business plan’s service project.

PHOTO: Fort Thomas Administrators, teachers and Fort Thomas business leaders listen to students give their pitches in the Highlands High School shark tank.

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