A press release from Crystal Lake High School District 155:
Campus Connections Team Wins D155’s Pitch Night
Four Prairie Ridge seniors earned the coveted top spot at the second annual Business Incubator Pitch Night for their app idea Campus Connections. Katie Anderson, Haley Barnes, Robert Barnhart and Cameron Karney are now working with an app developer in Turkey in hopes of advancing their project.
Each group in the class has an opportunity to present their product or service to a panel of business leaders and entrepreneurs in a “shark tank” style presentation and the top groups are announced at Pitch Night. It is the culmination of the year-long class. Students work in their small group with mentors and coaches to launch a business throughout the school year.
“In the beginning, we had an idea over the summer to create a pick-up basketball app.
“But there was really nothing out there for us, so we decided to take the pick-up basketball app and turn it into a college more or less bulletin board app,” said Robert Barnhart, Prairie Ridge senior.
These student entrepreneurs worked for two semesters learning about different business topics.
The program offers students an authentic entrepreneurship experience and they work with volunteer mentors, coaches, and a classroom teacher throughout the year to create and develop their own product or service and present their ideas to a panel of judges, similar to Shark Tank.
The team said the idea of Campus Connections is to give college students the opportunity to post activities and other events happening around campus and have other students opt-in or join those activities and events.
The team relied on their mentor Giacomo Listi and Prairie Ridge teacher Ryan O’Neill for business development advice.
“Because this project was so big and the project took up the entire year, our teacher, Mr. O’Neill, really taught us how to break down and plan little details so you’re not overwhelmed all at once,” said Katie Anderson, Prairie Ridge senior.
The students also said the class taught them about working as a team.
“There is a lot of compromise. We definitely have a lot of respect for each other and our ideas,” said Robert Barnhart, Prairie Ridge senior.
Katie Anderson will attend Central Michigan University to study international business with a minor in Spanish.
Haley Barnes will study finance at University Wisconsin-Stevens Point.
Robert Barnhart plans to attend McHenry County College and then plans to transfer to Northern Illinois University to study business administration.
Cameron Karney will attend Western Illinois University to play golf and study accounting.