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Students pitch business ideas in a 'Shark Tank' type format

Students pitch ideas to business leaders

About 10 students from all three middle schools in the Papillion La Vista Community Schools District got to try their at hand at pitching business ideas in a Shark Tank-style format.

Shark Tank is a reality show where entrepreneurs pitch their ideas to business leaders who are willing to fund business ideas.

The students who participated are part of the High Ability Learners (HAL) program. The HAL program works to recognize, support, and respect the exceptional intellectual, academic, and social-emotional needs of high ability learners.

 The students pitched their ideas to local business leaders, who listened to the presentations, then asked questions about the business plan.

 “We had a variety of people, several local businesses, small businesses from downtown,” said Middle School High Ability Facilitator Dr. Beth Maloney.

The ideas ranged from a juice cleanse shop to a virtual reality movie theater.

Maloney is proud of how the students did.

“I thought they did great. They were able to answer the questions really well,” she said.

“I could tell they all thought through quite a lot of the aspects of a business plan. So I was pretty proud of them.”

La Vista Middle School 8th grade student Aria White said it was really fun to prepare for the Shark Tank presentation. She pitched an idea for a teen center in the area.

“It was a lot of work and pretty stressful getting up there because I was pretty nervous.”

 She said she liked hearing the feedback from the “Sharks”.

“I definitely learned a lot about the business world and stuff I had never even thought about before.”

 The Sharks presented the students with the following certificates: 

  • Aria White – Exploit Teen Center – 8thGrade – LVMS – Best Presentation
  • Cailyn Finch – Siren Square Apartments – 8thGrade – Liberty – Best Logo
  • Max Fiser – 8thgrade, PMS and Drew Darnold, Liberty – 7th grade – Big O Subs – Best Business Plan
  • James Mallory and Mitchell Benorden – 8thgrade, PMS – VRFR (Virtual Reality for Real) – Most Creative Idea
  • Easten Kinsey, Will DeLaet, Cody Hamm, Sebastian Noto – 8thgrade, LVMS – Health Hut – Best Marketing Plan

 This is the sixth year HAL has done the Shark Tank project.