Pike Schools Take 1st and 2nd in Challenge

Phelps Students Present Their Water Project

"Phelps Team Presents Its Water Project"


          “Pike Teams Win Lt. Governor’s Challenge”


       Teams from the Pike County School District took away First and Second Places in the first-ever “Lt. Governor’s 1st Annual Entrepreneurship Challenge.”

         In the midst of Global Entrepreneurial Week, November 14-20, taking place across 157 countries, Kentucky Lieutenant Governor Jenean Hampton spoke to student business owners in East Kentucky. The Phelps High School team, PierSmart, won first place for their water filtration technology at the Kentucky Valley Educational Cooperative Regional High School Entrepreneurial Challenge, while Belfry High School’s Team took Second Place with its “Footprints” project.

        Students from seven east Kentucky high schools competed for $1000 in start-up cash for unique and creative business plans they’ve created. Hampton joined students, teachers, parents, business leaders, Governor Paul Patton, and University of Pikeville Administrators in the UPike Coleman College of Business to speak about the Challenge. The participating schools were: Belfry High School, Breathitt Co High School, Hazard High School, Johnson County High School Magoffin Co. High School, Phelps High School, and Pikeville High School.

        Johnson County won Third Place.

       “We’re closing in on $100,000 in cash prizes for the Challenge and the winners could very well be in this room! Right?” Hampton encouraged the crowd. After each team made their 10-minute pitch, Kentucky Innovation Network,and UPike Startup Challenge judges deliberated while middle-grade entrepreneurs presented their award-winning goods and services. Those businesses similarly involved water and healthcare solutions. Competing high school teams used 3D printing, app development, coding, and art design to combat issues of fresh water scarcity, poor health, and unemployment.

       Teams were judged on presentation as well as research, design, finances and cost, marketing strategies, growth potential and more. The Kentucky Valley Educational Cooperative (KVEC) Race to the Top Appalachian Renaissance Initiative (ARI) hosts these programs and competitions annually, empowering students to be entrepreneurs and community leaders using learning strategies to connect teachers and students to the world.

        The full event was live streamed through ARI’s “The Holler” website. Immediately following the challenge, ARI Student Senators joined the Lt. Governor and regional entrepreneurs for lunch and discussion about their student-led action plans across 17 east Kentucky school districts. These range from shifting school cultural to gaining student representation on school boards. The Student Senate and Entrepreneurial Programs are offered through ARI’s Students Transforming Appalachia with Real-world Solutions (STARS).

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