CEO Lion Challenge Encourages Creativity in Freshmen

Parker Wells won JSerra's CEO Lion Challenge.
Photo by Eric Simonson
Imagine a website where people of all ages can participate in an online scavenger hunt for prizes – for free. How cool would that be? JSerra freshman Parker Wells certainly can imagine it. His internet company Find a Needle will utilize ad revenue and hunt sponsorships to turn a tidy profit while offering this fun social media website to internet users young and old.

This is the business plan Wells proposed that won him the CEO Lion Challenge award at this year’s Underclassmen Awards ceremony on Monday, June 7. His idea and presentation were so compelling – and so viable – that he had one guest panelist willing to help get the project going. His plan was chosen because it would have a quick time line and be profitable almost immediately due of low overhead.

The CEO Lion Challenge Award was new in 2010 and will be presented annually to a freshman. The award was created to recognize the winner of a competition that all freshmen participate as part of the Freshman Success curriculum. All freshmen students complete a project in which they create their own business with company logo, motto and a business plan that identifies their product or service, their target audience, and a budget. They also have to write a letter to a bank requesting a loan to fund their business plan. The finalists present their proposal to a review panel made up of teachers, administrators, and business owners from the community.

The other finalists were Ryan Fitzpatrick, Paul Wagner, and Ryer Baldridge.

Ryan Fitzpatrick presented the Decleat which is an attachment of cleats on to your choice of shoe. The panel of judges described Ryan as “the most passionate presenter of the day.” Although the product would be hard to sell and produce, Ryan’s passion and enthusiasm caused some of the judges to actually consider the product.

Paul Wagner submitted a company named Rent-A-Pet. His outstanding presentation, which included a portfolio on the business proposal and a PowerPoint presentation, impressed the judges.

Ryer Baldridge presented the X-Station, a video game product that would allow X-Box, Playstation, Wii, and other gaming console users to play online against each other. Through the X-Station, gamers would be able to play their friends or other opponents – utilizing different gaming platforms – via the internet.

Freshman Success teacher Steve Nieto says the project challenges our freshmen to “think outside, around, and in their creative box. As they open up their minds to what businesses should and need to be created, each student also becomes motivated by the challenge to compete and beat their freshmen peers.”

Our Freshmen Success course teaches study skills, test taking skills, technology skills, JSerra history, and the importance of ethics and morality at JSerra. Nieto adds “with the CEO Lion Challenge we now are adding to the curriculum creative thinking, healthy competition, and real world applications.”