Students, teachers take part in IChallengeU during summer of 2012

IChallengeU awarded scholarships to top performers this summer.

Some Hamilton students and teachers had a unique opportunity this summer to work together in solving problems for west Michigan businesses.

IChallengeU was a unique two week summer program for 11th and 12th grade students from the Ottawa Area Intermediate School District to work with a local business partner to, through their own research and theories, develop solutions to real life community/civic/corporate questions or challenges that a business may have.

“The problems weren’t made up, they were problems the businesses actually had and didn’t know how to solve,” Hamilton junior Anissa Krauss said. “I also had to create a presentation on my solution and present it to the company and judges.”

A total of 54 students from the Ottawa Area Intermediate School District were selected for the program. Those students were able to work with master teachers and Ottawa Area community/civic/corporate leaders to learn what it takes to create modern century solutions in the competitive environment that we live in now.

“For my team, ZFS, my question was “How can you change the perception of Agriculture?” Krauss said. “Later, when I teamed up with the United Way team, I also had to help with their problem.”

To change the perception of agriculture, Anissa’s team came up with establishing a store-like pantry and having farmers donate food along with having them being more involved in the store. From them to be related with the store on a new level.

Junior Hayden Smith was on the Untied Way team that Krauss joined up with later on and their question then was: “How can we make sure everyone has 3 meals a day?”

“We created a store/distribution center that would allow those in need to get what they needed without traveling a long distance. We teamed up with the ZFS team which allowed farmers to come in and sell their goods,” Smith said.

All students who participated in the program were eligible to earn college credits, while the top performers earned 4 college credits from GRCC. All students were also given a $250 scholarship and those who won the competition were given an extra $750 that totaled to a $1,000 scholarship.

Both Krauss and Smith were given that top scholarship.

Teachers like Hamilton business and computers teacher Mr. Brian Morrison, who also took part in this experience, were given a new way to look at education, how students are taught, how we collaborate, and how to help students understand their potential.

“ICU showed me that students have way more ability and experience when solving challenges, way more than given credit for,” Mr. Morrison said.

“This program helps for the fact that it’s more project based learning. This way you’re doing the work and not listening to a teacher lecturing you,” Krauss said.


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