Students from Topsail High, Duplin Early College Earn Top Honors at UNCW Chancellor’s High School Innovation and Entrepreneurship Competition

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Student teams from Topsail High School and Duplin Early College High School earned top honors in the inaugural Chancellor’s High School Innovation and Entrepreneurship Competition.

The competition’s final event, held May 14 at UNCW’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE), involved six teams of finalists from five area high schools: Topsail, John T. Hoggard, East Columbus, Duplin Early College and Coastal Christian. The winners in each category are as follows:

For-Profit Track

  • First Place: Topsail with “Candy Compass” – Aidan Shepard and Jackson Smades
  • Second Place: John T. Hoggard with “Freestyle Pack” – Abby Walsh, Sydney Gulon and Anthony Jackson
  • Third Place: East Columbus with “BYO,” a wearable device – Isaiah Brown and Malik Coston

Topsail High Students and Chancellor Sartarelli

Topsail High School first place winners with Chancellor Sartarelli

Social Enterprise Winners

  • First Place: Duplin Early College with “KAZ Bows” – Zoila Meraz Cano, Keylin Isaac and Audry Hernandez
  • Second Place: Coastal Christian with “Recycle 3D” – Robert “Clint” Turbeville
  • Third Place: East Columbus with “Fun Wheels” – Jasmine Jones and Teresa Hernandez-Carbajal

Duplin Early College students with Chancellor Sartarelli

Duplin Early College High School first place winners with Chancellor Sartarelli

“Congratulations to our winners! I was very impressed with the talent and ingenuity each of the teams demonstrated during the competition,” said Chancellor Jose V. Sartarelli. “As a university, we always seek opportunities to inspire students to give flight to their imaginations, and the winners certainly came through for their high schools.”

First place winners received $1,500 in cash for the school they represent in order to enhance their school’s entrepreneurship offerings. Second place winners earned $1,000 for their school; third place winners, $500. The students themselves also received trophies and copies of The Lean Entrepreneur, the book by Brant Cooper and Patrick Vlaskovits that inspired the competition.

The students’ final pitches were judged by UNCW faculty members: Stephen Harper, professor of management from the Cameron School of Business; Jess Boersma, assistant professor of Spanish and director of ETEAL; and Raymond Pastore, assistant professor of instructional technology from the Watson College of Education.

Students from 50 high schools across southeastern North Carolina were invited to register for the competition, founded by Chancellor Sartarelli in partnership with the CIE, to challenge students to create innovative solutions to real-world problems and enhance their knowledge of entrepreneurship. The high school teams’ initial presentations were due April 23, the semi-finalists were announced on May 2 and the finalists were announced on May 14.

-- Andrea Weaver