Local kids take the challenge

High school students are offering real-world solutions for West Michigan companies.
Krystle Wagner
Jul 20, 2013

During the last two weeks, 80 students from 13 school districts in the Ottawa Area Intermediate School District partnered with companies for the futurePREP IChallengeU program.

Companies presented students with a challenge they face at their business. Students had two weeks to research and develop solutions before presenting to a panel of judges on Friday when teams faced off to win a $1,000 college scholarship provided by Haworth Inc.

Students on Team Zeeland Farm Services won scholarships for their solution on how to sell more Zoye, a 100 percent soybean oil.

Companies involved with the program include Haworoth Inc., the Center for Women in Transition, Gentex Corporation, GVSU Meijer Campus in Holland, Herman Miller, Holland Hospital, Holland City Government, Innotec, Johnson Controls, Primera Plastics, Ready for School, Royal Technologies, and Zeeland Farm Services Inc.

Spring Lake High School senior Alex Kuhn worked with five other students to answer the problem posed by Team Haworth: how can they turn their current internship program into a world-class program.

The group spent two weeks interviewing workers for the company and learning about their experiences to help create a solution and presentation.

“We all put sticky notes on a wall, saturated everything and found our focus: project-based learning and 21st century skill building,” Kuhn said.

The 17-year-old said he applied for the program after he heard the positive experiences of classmates at Careerline Tech Center. Kuhn said he wanted to get involved because he plans pursue business in sales or marketing following high school and post-secondary education.

Although the last two weeks has included working eight hours a day, Kuhn said it was a fantastic experience and helped build a strong sense of community among teammates.

The most rewarding part, Kuhn said, is the culmination of the team’s efforts to find a solution.

To read more, see today's print or e-editon of the Grand Haven Tribune.

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