As part of the IChallengeU program, six businesses partnered with 11th- and 12th-grade students from schools in the Ottawa Area Intermediate School District and presented them with a real problem their company is facing.
The two-week camp was created to give students the real-world application for things they are learning in the classroom, said Jason Pasatta, IChallengeU program developer/coordinator and director at Ottawa Area Intermediate School District.
“It's actually really inspiring,” he said. “It's one of those things that makes you wonder why we don't give students more control more often. The students are coming up with things that are incredible.”
Students and teachers were selected through an application and interview process, Pasatta said.
Businesses and organizations involved with the program include the Greater Ottawa County United Way, Hayworth Corp., Hope College, Holland Hospital, Zeeland Farm Services and Innotec.
The teams will present their ideas to the companies today. The companies will choose the best presentations to compete in Friday’s final competition.
One benefit for the students is they can receive four college credits at Grand Rapids Community College.
The United Way teams were asked how to develop an effective way to get food to people in need in Ottawa County. They visited a food pantry and had lunch at a women’s shelter to understand and get to know the people who use those services.
Patrick Moran, president of the local United Way, said it has been energizing to see everyone working together as a team.
"They are looking at it through different eyes," he said. “I'm very excited to see their final product.”
To read more of this story, see today’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.