Rushing through the weekly morning traffic, speeding up to beat red lights, barely making it to third hour on time: the daily routine of the typical Spark! student.
Spark! is a Parkway Schools program that provides students with experiential learning opportunities to educate students about the business world.
On Thursday, Sept. 17, the Spark! students competed in a pitch competition. Participants had five minutes to present their business ideas to parents, mentors and members of the start-up community and were judged based on the feasibility of their ideas.
“This was the first competition,” senior Katie Hornsby said. “The first six weeks were all about taking our ideas from light bulb to launch. We explained in our presentations what our businesses were and what we are trying to accomplish with them.”
The companies ranged from a marketing firm to a men’s spa to a monogramming business. All were ideas pitched by the students. The winner of the competition was a business called PB & J Personalization, a monogramming company. The second and third place competitors were Parkway West students junior Allison Worth and senior Zarah Habibollah.
“I had the idea to write a book and sell it,” Worth said. “It’s called ‘From the Ashes’ and it is a dystopian young adult novel. I was surprised that I got second place. I didn’t think the judges would understand what I was trying to do because it’s not a business.”
Worth prepared a slide show presenting her ideas for the book. It took her two weeks to prepare.
“I’m trying to incorporate diversity into the novel, making my book unusual compared to the typical white and straight character. It is meant to bring attention to different lifestyles and cultures. For my presentation, I had to research diversity in books and the cost of publications,” Worth said.
The third place competitor, senior Zarah Habibolah, created the business Shoush Designs with her partner Parkway North senior Sarah Noble. Shoush Designs is a jewelry business dedicated to helping children in less privileged countries by donating 10 percent of the profit to families in need.
“We wanted to have our business give back to those need. Our attention was brought to children and families because of Clara Sun’s mom. She came back from a trip to her home village in China and told us about the poor conditions and their need of help. We have five families we donate to. They make only $300 per year and the parents have cancer,” Habibollah said.