May 4, 2018

Two GRPS Schools Win GVSU Competition

Innovation Central High School’s Academy of Business, Leadership, and Entrepreneurship (ABLE) and Harrison Park K-8 were winners in the Grand Valley State University’s Laker Effect Challenge, a competition that recognizes and rewards innovative projects led by GVSU faculty, students and staff that have a social, environmental or economic impact on our community.  The competition was held at GVSU’s Eberhard Center on Wednesday, April 11, 2018. 

Innovation Central High School’s Academy of Business, Leadership, and Entrepreneurship (ABLE) and Harrison Park K-8 were winners in the Grand Valley State University’s Laker Effect Challenge, a competition that recognizes and rewards innovative projects led by GVSU faculty, students and staff that have a social, environmental or economic impact on our community.  The competition was held at GVSU’s Eberhard Center on Wednesday, April 11, 2018. 

The Laker Effect Challenge is an annual competition that highlights GVSU projects that are aimed at solving a real problem, and demonstrate leadership and advocacy aimed at shaping the future in West Michigan. Ideas can be at any stage of development or any form of scholarship. Six finalists were selected from all submissions to present their ideas to the public and a panel of judges, who awarded up to $5000 in cash prizes to those projects deemed to potentially have the most positive impact.  The teams had five minutes to present their projects, in addition to a five minute Q&A session where the judges were able to gain additional information and clarifications on the projects.

This year, the judging panel selected four out of the six requests to receive funding.  ICHS’s ABLE program received first prize of $2,500, and Harrison Park were awarded $1,000 to implement their plans.  Out of the $5,000 total amount, $3,500 went to GRPS schools. 

The ABLE idea was a request of $3,000 to purchase 30 required blazers for students to wear at DECA business competitions. DECA is an international business competition where students compete in many different categories to sharpen their business knowledge and skills.  Blazers with the DECA logo are required to be worn by students at all of their regional, state, national, and international competitions. 

ABLE had a few blazers on hand but not enough for every participant.  This resulted in students having to stand outside the room to swap old blazers in between competitions.  This is not only inefficient, but also resulted in creating anxiety for students who were about to present but did not have the required blazer on hand.  Quite often the coat did not fit very well or was not the one that fits best because the one that fits was being used by another student.  Not having the proper attire form increases anxiety and impacts the students’ performance in these competitions.  Now, at least 25 more blazers in a variety of sizes and cuts will be purchased in time for the students to have for next year’s competitions, nearly guaranteeing that all students will have a blazer to wear at competitions.            

The DECA Blazers project was presented by Shorouq Almallah, Director of the Richard and Helen DeVos Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation at GVSU, and who was joined by three students from the Collegiate Entrepreneurs Organization (CEO) at GVSU who helped make the case for how the blazers impact students’ performance and success.  Shorouq Almallah is also the Chairperson of the ABLE Advisory Board that is made up of local community companies and organizations that meets monthly to help guide and support the business program at ICHS.                                                                                                         

Harrison Park’s idea won $1000, which will be utilized to restock their school uniform closet.  Many times during the school year, students and families need assistance with keeping their children dressed in the school uniform.  Having extra uniform shirts to provide for students in need is a way to keep children in school and to fit in with all the other students.  Harrison Park’s project was presented by Steven Sholten, a Liberal Studies Major at GVSU.

Two other ideas were also funded.  $1,000 was awarded to Cultivating the Garden of Eatin’, a community garden and greenhouse project here in Grand Rapids.  In addition, $500 was presented to Ride Your Way LLC, to provide non-emergent medical transportation to help transport people to and from medical centers and doctor’s visits. 

Two ideas that did not receive funding were requests to fund data collection concerning racial equity in the Grand Rapids area, and the other was a request for the landscaping of houses where lead was present from old paint.  The selection of the six ideas came from an on-line voting that took place a couple weeks before the competition.