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This past January, students and teachers across Birmingham entered the 2018 NextGen Pitch Competition in hopes of winning a $5,000 grand prize. The winners have officially been announced!
If you aren’t familiar with the NextGen Pitch Competition, it’s a pretty cool concept. The idea first formed when BBVA Compass partnered with Birmingham City Schools to see which Birmingham City High School student and teacher has what it takes to help make Birmingham’s future bright.
The competition was open to all Birmingham City High School students grades 9-12 and all Birmingham City School teachers. To enter the competition, students and teachers had to submit their bright, innovative and fresh ideas on how to improve Birmingham.
Finals for the competition were held at the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama building in Birmingham.
So who won the $5,000 grand prize?
Top winners in the student and teacher categories were:
- Kaleena Watts – American Literature teacher at A.H. Parker High School
- Jarvis Prewitt – 16-year-old junior at Huffman High School
What were their bright ideas that wowed the judges of the 2018 NextGen Pitch Competition?
Watts, who partnered with Valeria Walton Cornner of the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama, proposed a district-wide student news outlet created for students by students.
“The outlet is needed in today’s political, socioeconomic and educational climate,” said Watts.
Prewitt, partnered with Forte of the Birmingham Education Foundation (a.k.a. the Ed Foundation) and proposed a Makerspace program in all 43 Birmingham City Schools.
Makerspace is a collaborative learning environment where students and its users utilize technology to invent, experiment and explore, while being challenged to be creative and think outside the box while using STEM (science, technology, engineering and math).
“[It] would serve as a virtual classroom where educators take the curriculum or a teacher-led project and utilize it in these labs,” said Prewitt. “To further make the schools more inviting to parents, schools would partner with businesses that specialize in STEM to provide training in the parent-resource center.”
Other winners in the teacher and student categories were:
- Shaunta Lockett-Lewis, Physical Education teacher at Minor Elementary School (2nd place, $1,500)
- Christina Sellers, Kindergarten teacher at Huffman Academy (3rd place, $1,500)
- Kamil Goodman, sophomore at Parker High (2nd place, $1,500)
What do you think of the NextGen Pitch Competition and the winners’ ideas for a brighter Birmingham?