Thirty-five brand new entrepreneurs are about to storm the business world. Well … in about 12 years!
Sixth-graders from the QUEST gifted-and-talented program at Frelinghuysen Middle School recently participated in WOWSEE, a program inspired by the popular cable television show Shark Tank.
WOWSEE stands for World of Work Simulated Entrepreneurial Experience, organized by the New Jersey Consortium for Gifted and Talented Programs Inc.
The students were mentored and their presentations were judged by SCORE, a volunteer organization that helps to launch small businesses.
Each student team had to deal with this scenario: The “chief executive” of each “corporation” has inherited a hotel and land that has fallen into disrepair from years of neglect. It was once owned by a wealthy, long-lost uncle.
They formed simulated start-up companies to design, create, and develop themed resorts, with designated positions and roles. They also had to develop a marketing strategy appropriate for their target audiences.
Photos by Marie Pfeifer
The project required the students to stage a trade show, prepare videos of commercials, oral presentations, advertising and marketing strategies, a five-year business projection, and a competitive marketing analysis. “The students worked to their strengths when deciding which roles each student should assume,” said Carlene Henke, a QUEST teacher.
The students used their “trade show” to exhibit brochures and visuals showcasing features of their resorts. Business cards at the ready, they also pitched attendees to make reservations.
Top honors in the trade show category were taken by the “Season 5 Resorts” and “Royal Towers” teams.
“Both teams demonstrated their ability to project in a simple, direct manner that would be appealing to a wide range of people,” said Beth Hyer, a member of SCORE.
A set of human chess pieces in the Royal Towers video commercial scored second place. They were trumped by Magnificent Mo[nu]ments Resorts with a play on words and a snazzy commercial advertising hotel rooms in the Eiffel Tower, the Empire State Building and Butchart Gardens — all located in South Dakota!
“It was very interesting to experience what real-life entrepreneurs do,” said Mai Cecala, CEO of the Royal Towers team.
Research was a large part of this exercise.
“I enjoyed working on the project. I researched the cost on the Small Business Association (SBA) website,” said Sophy Duby, CEO of the Polu Kai Resort and Spa team.
Hart Coven, a SCORE mentor, admired the kids’ progress. “It was good to see where the kids started from in October and how far they have come since we first began working together. They’ve learned how to give oral presentations, create videos and how to work together.”
Bill Carlucci, SCORE coach, lauded the two QUEST teachers.
“Carlene Henke and Bruce Chamberlain have done a great job bringing the ‘Shark Tank’ experience to their sixth-grade students. The program allows the students to learn about methods and tools used to develop a business concept. Many people do not have an experience like this until college, graduate school or when they are starting a business.
“The students are provided a nurturing environment, which encourages creativity and independence with the necessary support to assure everyone is successful.
“I have been a part of this program for three years and each year the student enthusiasm has been terrific. I enjoy working with them and the manner in which they approach their work is impressive. I thoroughly enjoy the students’ final presentations. Their teachers and parents should be proud of the direction and example they have provided these fine students.”
Next up for the sixth-graders: The Morris County Regional Debate Tournament in May.
Season 5 – The Season of Fun
Lauren Smith – CMO
Lauren Broseker – CO/CFO
Luke Marum – CO/CEO
Brendan Tierney CO/CEO
Erica Van Sciver – CIO
Royal Towers Resort
Mia Cecala – DEO of Marketing and Sales
Zachary Goldman – CFO
Anna Alessio – CEO of Advertising and Public Relations
Thomas Sporer – Executive Board Secretary
Brendan Doherty – CEO of Technology
Polu Kai Resort and Spa
Tara O’Neill – CDOI/Finances
Stephanie Oha – Restaurants
Sophy Duby – CFO
Luci Farro – CEO/Finances
Dylan Lombardi – Competitive Analysis
Ajhand Jordan – CMO
Aldan Myers – Website
Aquarius Palace Resorts
Jacqeline Clay – CEO of Advertising and Public Relations
Isabella Ha – Executive Board Secretary
Grace Miller – CEO of Technology
Atti Meriluoto – CEO and CFO
Alexander Greorgiev – CEO of Development
Molly Sibona – CEO of Marketing and Sales
Sheetal Bangalore – CEO
Anne Merritt – CMO
Vienna Volinsky – Executive Board Secretary
Olivia Denman – CAO
Paul Tsien – CIO
Jake Reynolds – Jake Reynolds
Matt Torrisi – CEO
Christian Buseo – CEO of Advertising and Marketing
Luisa Zapata – CEO of Technology
Luna Agilar – Executive Board Secretary
Jasmine Ha – Chief Financial Office