“It was a tough competition,” said Derrik Jansen, a member of the Iroquois Public School team which entered the May 1, 2015, Innovation. Creativity. Entrepreneurship. competition held at Kemptville College. “And nerve-wracking. I did a lot of speaking.”
“The three judges asked every team really hard questions,” said team member T. J. Barnhardt, echoed by fellow students Liam Adams and Brett Fodey.
The students, under the guidance of their teacher, Madame Chantal Lacroix, took their project, Make the World A Better Place, an innovative, eco-friendly website, to the Upper Canada District School Board sponsored I.C.E. event. They came home with $300 to help keep their not-for-profit business project up and running.
Judges for the junior category of the competition included: McKenna Modler, an UCDSB student, a cancer survivor and a fund raiser who raised $130,000 for cancer research; Sandra Lawn, former mayor of Prescott; and Adrian Harewood, co-host of the CBC Ottawa’s Nightly News.
The Iroquois team was first up of the nine competitors. Under the rules, they had to present their project, demonstrate its possibilities and answer any questions put to them by the judges, as they tried for the $500 top prize. While Mme. Lacroix was present, she could not, per the rules, assist the boys in any way during their ‘sales pitch.’
“Adrian Harewood asked the hardest questions,” said Derrik. “One was, how do you measure success with a face book page?”
“Then he asked us to explain what age group our web site would appeal to and why,” added Liam.
“We really had to think up there,” said T.J. “Since we were first on stage, we couldn’t even see how other teams handled their questions.”
“But the judges were tough on every competitor. They didn’t take it easy on anyone,” said Brett.
The project chosen for first place was a Kids Garden, which targeted farmers. The IPS students also found a project proposing a solar panel phone charger very interesting.
The Iroquois team will use their $300 prize towards t-shirts and stickers, which will help promote their on-going website. They all agree that “other kids should get involved in a competition like this.”
“We’d like to enter again, although we will need to develop a new idea,” said Derrik, “but for right now we are focussing on our website, Make the World A Better Place.”