LightHouse Students Dive in the Shark Tank!

Group Pic4th grade students in the Volunteers of America of North Louisiana’s 21st Century LightHouse summer program at Forest Hill Elementary impressed local investors yesterday in the Shark Tank.

Students were separated into 2 groups and with guidance from their teachers, Marilyn Austin and Jennifer Maxwell, the students wowed everyone with their creativity and bright imaginations. Along with presenting their prototype to investors, the students were challenged to talk about the product history, cost analysis and benefits, create a survey along with a graph showing a market for the product and write a song to end the pitch leaving a lasting impression.

One group of all girls presented their latest invention, A Multi-Rainbow Crayon Pen. This pen has the capability to hold multiple crayons. It featured a built-in sharpener and hook, so you can easily find it on your backpack. The creative invention will allow students to color with multiple crayons without having to dig in the crayon box for each color. It also included multiple crayon colors to ensure no crayon pen looks the same. All investors commented there is a large market for this type of pen. Not only students, but teachers may also be interested. The investors complimented the girls on their song and presentation. After a great pitch, the investors wanted to be their partners!

The second group of all boys presented the Multi-Pencil Sharpener. This creative invention allows someone to sharpen multiple pencils at once saving everyone time and money. Because of the V-shape, their sharpener will sharpen each pencil separately without a pencil getting jammed in the sharpener.  They also mentioned their sharpener will be safe, so kids will not get hurt in the classroom. The boys proposed selling the sharpener at local Wal-Mart and Office Depot stores for $75/each estimated selling 10,000 units in their first year earning $300,000 in revenue. Chris Rea, CFO of Aeropres Corporation, asked the boys what they would do with their $300,000 profit. The boys replied, “Invest it back in the company and buy more pencil sharpeners!” All investors unanimously smiled and agreed. They really liked the product and the affordable price point. They all chose to invest!

“I wanted to do something fun and innovative to improve math skills”, said Toccara Williams, LightHouse School-Based Program Director. “After hearing their presentations, I know these kids are entrepreneurs. They will make a lot of money with their future innovations and come back to donate it to the LightHouse! I’m so proud.”

Other Shark Tank investors were Lea Rea, Business owner and Entrepreneur; John Coutret, Senior Vice President of Bancorp South; and Kasey Brown, Financial Service Specialist at Regions Bank. On behalf of Volunteers of America of North Louisiana, we appreciate their time and investment to help our LightHouse children!

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