CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas - Representatives from the Corpus Christi Army Depot had a unique opportunity to participate in the Kolda Elementary School Entrepreneur Quest competition at Kolda, March 28.
Three CCAD pilots were guests as part of a five-judge panel for the annual competition where 5th-grade students present a creative and new product concept they have created, said Josie Alvarez, Kolda principal. The competition resembles the entrepreneurial-themed reality show, Shark Tank®.
This year, 11 students presented brand ideas from fishing tackle jewelry to custom-created hats with built in sunglasses in hopes of winning the grand prize of a $100 donation to help start their business, said Alvarez. Each project was vetted for age level and appropriateness.
Alvarez said the competition is more than just winning the grand prize, but a learning tool for the students to incorporate school subjects they have been taught for the past 4 years.
"Each design encompassed how (the student) integrated subjects such as math, science, writing, and reading," said Alvarez.
Another benefit of the competition is a creative outlet for students to learn how to work with others, learn authentic business practices and put themselves into their product.
"I enjoy being creative, and I wanted to see how far I could go with my ideas," said Talen Silvas, 11, who won the competition with his product - individual, homemade peanut butter and jelly slices.
Silvas said Alvarez, his teacher and others students were very supportive of his idea, which he calls "The Good Stuff."
"Other students have been very encouraging, my teacher is supportive and my principle even gave me a few ideas on packaging the product," said Silvas.
Silvas said he was most thankful to the judges and to all the members from CCAD who help support Kolda at different events.
Army Chief Warrant Officer 4 Andrew Gardner, test pilot, CCAD, and frequent Kolda volunteer, said he enjoys being able to support the school and see how creative students can be.
"I was honored to be here and help the children out," said Gardner. "The (projects) were crazy. The 'Good Stuff' idea blew my mind."
Gardner said he was there to encourage the students, but ended up finding himself encouraged as most of the products developed where about giving back to campaigns such as anti-bullying, cleaning up state parks and donating to wounded warriors.
"I'm glad these children think about others," said Gardner. "I think it is great schools are teaching our children about giving back and charitable organizations."
Each student was encouraged to continue their pursuit of marketing and selling their products, even if they didn't place in the competition. This includes expanding their brand or creating new ideas.
"Don't ever give up... run with your ideas and keep expanding," said Gardner.