July 24, 2019

"Sharks" Take Over Whiteknact School

Student Entrepreneurs Pitch Products

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Taking their lead from a popular television series, Amy Almada's fifth grade Whiteknact School class took on the role of entrepreneurs and re-created the Shark Tank show in their classroom on December 18th. In the television series budding entrepreneurs get the chance to bring their dreams to fruition in the reality show from executive producer Mark Burnett. They present their ideas to the sharks in the tank - five titans of industry who made their own dreams a reality and turned their ideas into lucrative empires. The contestants try to convince any one of the sharks to invest money in their idea. When more than one of the sharks decide they want a piece of the action, a bidding war can erupt, driving up the price of the investment.

The Whiteknact students in Ms. Almada's class teamed up in groups and developed ideas that they thought might sell to the public. After deciding on a product they had to find an investor to sell their idea to. "Students came up with inventions and innovations to solve everyday problems," said fifth grade teacher Amy Almada. "In addition to the invention process, they have learned a great deal about patents and entrepreneurship. The students used multi-media as they designed poster boards and a video power point presentation for the Judges," Almada added.

The program opened up with a video message from East Providence resident and founder of Nuts ‘n More, Inc., Peter Ferreira. Ferreira was actually on season four of the Shark Tank series. Peter continues to work closely with Sharks, Mark Cuban and Robert Herjavec. Ferreira gave the students an inspirational pep talk and promised to visit their classroom for further discussions. "The students were excited to learn that an actual Sharks celebrity lives in East Providence," said Almada. "Nuts ‘N More was started 5 years ago after we were looking for other healthy alternatives of getting protein into our diets without having to eat another bar or drink another shake," said Ferreira. "In the back of my family's small bakery shop we created the first high protein spread to ever hit the mass market and with the help of our two partners, Mark Cuban and Robert Herjavec, we’re focused on doing it in a big way."

The Whiteknact Shark Tank volunteer judges were East Providence Mayor-elect Bob DaSilva, Superintendent of Schools Kathryn Crowley, Assistant School Superintendents Celeste Bowler, Sandra Forand and Whiteknact Principal Gregory McCarthy. The judges donned their Shark hats and watched intensely as the students made presentations.

The idea of marketing a tracking pencil by Lavinia Rodriguez, Nadiyah Calouro-Vargas and Delylah Smith, was immediately grabbed by Mayor-elect DaSilva. "I like that idea, I'm always losing my pens and pencils. Good idea, I'll fund it," said the Mayor-elect. "Maybe you can develop it somehow so we parents can find our children when they're out," suggested the Mayor. His idea found no takers.

The idea by Jovany Santiago, Nathaniel Monteiro and Keigan Grant for a remote finder was quickly supported by Assistant Superintendent Forand. "My kids always lose mine around the house. I'll take that."

An idea for revolving store shelves by Emily Bairos was immediately supported by Principal McCarthy. McCarthy who stands about 6' 6" said he has trouble buying things from floor level shelves. "Good idea, I support this product," he said to laughter from the class.

For more than an hour the student entrepreneurs pitched their products. They answered the judges questions about who would buy, how much profit is there and how did they develop their ideas. The students, many dressed in their professional attire, impressed everyone in attendance. "You are all to be commended. What a great job by all," said Mayor-elect DaSilva. As the class was about to end, one girl raised her hand. "Mr. Mayor, can you please say hello to Barack Obama?" she asked. "Sure," said DaSilva with a chuckle.

The Whiteknact student entrepreneurs in no particular order:
Lavinia Rodriguez, Nadiyah Calouro-Vargas, Delylah Smith, Emily Bairos, Jovany Santiago, Nathaniel Monteiro, Keigan Grant, Noah Jette, Gianna Garcia, Daje’E McDonald, Hector Melendez, Brooklynne Williams, Leah Cabral, Normand Dean, Alijah Santos, Brady Nadrowski, Jake Fournier, Briana Vargas, Alex Arruda, Devin Miner, Miley Olieira, Payton Landreville, Frankie Kozakiewicz , Audrey Lepine, Xavier Whetstone, Ciara Pimentel, Tatyana Vazquez, Jayda Winfield, Joseph Carrillo, Sophia Gomes, Rachel Castro, Krista Silva, Lidiane Vicente, Sophia Dinis, Aydan Sousa, Brett Bruen, Eder DaSilva, Spencer Smith, Dante Glynn and Brayden Orellana.

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