Eleven enterprising teens pitched creative business ideas from athletic clothing and GPS stickers to affordable rental housing, platforms for mental health, script sharing, and inventors, and even genetically modified fish in the ELEVATE competition at Allendale Columbia School on January 21st, 2021.
In the culminating activity for AC’s semester-long Essentials of Entrepreneurship class, taught by the Director of the AC Center for Entrepreneurship, Amy Oliveri, students learn to develop the mindset and skill set necessary, using design thinking, to turn ideas into viable products, services, and businesses. The class covers the fundamentals of thinking like an entrepreneur, coming up with new business ideas, attracting investors, marketing their business, and managing revenues and expenses.
Judges Rupa Thind (Associate Director of the Albert J. Simone Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at RIT), Tony Tepedino (AC Dean of Student Life), and Julie Barrett (AC Welcome Desk Associate), awarded Luca Palomaki ’24 first place for “ScriptArena”, an online platform for script sharing, writing, collaboration, and licensing. Second place was awarded to Myles Wilson ’21 for his “Simple Living” affordable work-for-rent housing concept. Olivia Fries ’23 and her “GPX” GPS stickers for locating household items earned third place honors.
“I love acting, theater, movies, and TV, and I know it’s hard to develop a script and get it produced. I thought ScriptArena was a pretty good idea that I could implement quickly and pitch with enthusiasm,” Luca related. “I usually have a lot of ideas bouncing around in my head, and this class helped me figure out how I might be able to develop those ideas into real businesses that could maybe make some money and help people.”
The two-minute pitches were evaluated based on how well students conveyed their project’s value proposition, viability research, competitors, definition and marketing to target customer segments, cost and revenue structures, implementation timeline, and social responsibility.
The other participants offered ideas that also could potentially impact their defined areas of need:
- Greg & Jayden: Athletic clothing line
- Evelyn: Mental health salon – Providing education and mental health training to hair stylists, makeup artists, and nail techs to provide people with an everyday safe space
- Cynara: “Gender Forward” – An online site and app to empower and educate people of all ages about an array of issues regarding gender.
- Natalia: “HND Book” – An app that specialized in providing students with mental health resources, including meditation sessions, advice, podcasts, etc.
- Jake & Cameron: Genetically modified plastic eating fish to solve plastic pollution in our oceans
- Lai – An app to connect young inventors with investors to be able to bring a product to market
“The ELEVATE pitch competition has been a fun way to focus the students on not just learning about entrepreneurship but really developing a problem-solving, entrepreneurial mindset and putting it into practice as an entrepreneur does,” Oliveri said. “They learn that these concepts can be applied to help them take any idea they have in their work, school, or home life and turn it into something meaningful.”
The Essentials of Entrepreneurship class provides an introduction to Allendale Columbia’s Center for Entrepreneurship, which launched in 2017 with a commitment to being a hub for community problem solving and social innovation. Its mission is to “create opportunities for our students/participants to make an impact on the world at an unprecedented level by learning to adapt to a constantly evolving world, connecting globally, and carving their own path. This authentic way of thinking and working develops a universally applicable and transferable mindset and skillset.”
Students can also explore entrepreneurship through the Center’s other courses as well as offerings from the AC Invent Center for STEM and Innovation. Those courses include Design Thinking, Making An Impact (Locally, Globally), Production and Design, and an Entrepreneurs as Innovators Cohort in which students build upon an entrepreneurial, problem-solving mindset and skill set to bring their solutions to market.
A recording of the pitch competition is viewable on YouTube.
Posted in: Centers for Impact, Entrepreneurship, Highlights, Upper School
One of AC’s most beloved traditions is Heritage Dinner, an event typically hosted on campus potluck-style, to celebrate and share the unique cultural backgrounds of our AC families. With this year’s global pandemic and the health and safety of our community at the forefront of our minds, we knew changes would need to be made in order to safely host the event this year. Pulling this off virtually would be a challenge, yes; but it would not be impossible.
Embracing AC’s core values to the fullest — “the importance of connections”, “mastering strategies for learning”, “minds that are curious and creative”, and “developing a resilient spirit that dares to take risks” — we decided to use this real world challenge as a learning opportunity for our students.
Enter AC Production and Design students Ella Prokupets, Mansa Brown-Tonge, Carly Freeman, Jocelyn Wynn, independent study student Chloe Fowler, and global diploma student Brynn Peters. Together, with the guidance of faculty advisor Amy Oliveri, these six students began to analyze the keystone components of the event and the logistics necessary to host it virtually.
Among the goals and objectives identified by the group were:
- The desire to make the event as inclusive as possible
- The desire to provide various levels of engagement to promote the widest accessibility
- The ability to virtually bring people together to enjoy culturally diverse food
- The ability to incorporate local and international partners
To implement these goals, the students set to work connecting with our partners in Senegal, Dubai, Mexico, China, and locally, they reached out to Headwater Food Hub to coordinate the sale of Meal Boxes to our community. These boxes, they hoped, would provide a sense of community with everyone prepping and enjoying the same meal. Driven by the desire to support and shop local during this challenging time, the students also arranged to have extra Meal Boxes donated to our School #17 Summer LEAP families. Additionally, the students curated a list of ethnically diverse restaurants to encourage participants to support local small businesses and try new cuisines from around the world. During this time, they also began building their own website, creating social media content and messaging to help promote the event, and gathering family-favorite recipes and music from our AC community.
When the day of the event finally came, we had just shy of 100 people in attendance! Through a combination of pre recorded presentations and live discussions, we were successfully (and safely!) able to come together, yet again, to break bread and broaden our understanding of the world and those in our community. This event is always such a wonderful reminder of the richness and diversity of our AC community.
We are proud to be Rochester’s most diverse school, and we are committed to continuing to build a community that fosters diversity, equity, and inclusion for all people.
00:00 – Welcome
02:01 – Intro & Land Acknowledgement
05:20 – History of Heritage Dinner
08:06 – Student Speaker #1 (Lizzie)
13:14 – Student Speaker #2 (Ziqi)
15:58 – Student Speaker #3 (Victoria)
20:03 – Faculty Speaker (Mr. Camara)
36:25 – Breakout Rooms
50:17 – Closing Remarks
50:33 – Solidarity Circle Intro
51:41 – Solidarity Circle Video
53:31 – Closing Remarks
*This year’s Heritage Dinner program was organized and produced by students in the Production & Design Class. Thank you to Mansa Brown-Tonge for hosting the evening’s event and Ms. Oliveri for her oversight and guidance.
Posted in: Centers for Impact, Diversity Equity and Inclusion, Entrepreneurship, Events & Workshops, Global Engagement, Highlights, Lower School, Middle School, Upper School
Students in our multidisciplinary Upper School course “Production & Design” attended the virtual Adobe Max conference October 20-22. This conference provided students with access to interactive workshops and presentations by Annie Liebovitz, Ava DuVernay, and Tim Allen of VP, Design, Airbnb, and many more. Overall, AC students attended more than 20 different sessions, allowing them to learn alongside, and from, leading industry professionals.
At AC, we constantly strive to offer opportunities for students to learn and grow both in and out of the classroom. Bringing global conferences to our students, despite the pandemic, allows our young leaders to continue to make connections and grow their network of resources. We are grateful for the ability and innovation that makes it possible for our students to attend events such as this and then apply their learnings in the events they are organizing this year in “Production & Design”.
This year, our “Production and Design” students are organizing three major events:
- Best Buddies Gala – AC has had a partnership with Best Buddies, a non-profit organization that supports people in our community with developmental disabilities, for about four years. This year, AC students are working with Best Buddies to create their “Champions Gala”, Best Buddies’ largest fundraiser of the year. In a normal year, their gala would be a traditional in-person event. This year, however, is a bit different, and the event will be held virtually. AC students have the responsibility of filming and editing pre-recorded content for the event, in cooperation with Best Buddies WNY and WROC. AC students are also responsible for creating social media content to promote the event. This is a tremendous opportunity for students to do real and impactful work in the community.
- Heritage Dinner – The Heritage Dinner is an annual AC event to celebrate the cultural diversity and heritage of our AC community. This year’s event will take place virtually the evening of December 10th. Our team of student leaders will create meal boxes for purchase in collaboration with Headwater Food Hub, organize performances, publish a digital cookbook of AC family favorite recipes, and provide participants with cultural resources to make this event a success.
- Now. Here. This. – This year’s Upper School musical theatre production is Hunter Bell, Susan Blackwell, and Jeff Bowen’s Now.Here.This., which has recently been adapted to be “flexible” in these uncertain times. This new flexibility allows for freedom in casting, running time, and performance venue. The adaptation can accommodate casts of 4 to 400 people of all genders, races, and sexual orientation, and can be performed live or online. This means that all students can be involved, whether they are learning remotely or in person! This exciting project is being filmed and produced by AC students, who are currently in the storyboarding stage. Auditions took place last week, and cast members are starting to learn material and prepare for recording and filming. The production will be shown in a live-streamed event on January 22nd, 2021.
Here is what our students have to say about the Adobe MAX Conference…
In “Adobe Spark: How to Build Cross-Team Collaboration” they began by introducing themselves and what they do with Adobe Spark currently. They then went on to explain how you should build a team where everyone has different strengths and weaknesses so the team members can focus on using their strengths to the fullest, instead of focusing on building up their weaknesses. Next, they gave a demo on how to create brands and libraries in Spark that you can share with multiple people to help with the consistency of branding and marketing. They then explain how you can share your projects with other people if you want to co-edit. I learned how to use the Creative Cloud libraries in both Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator instead of just in Spark. Before this session, I was downloading the files then adding them to my libraries on Spark. I also learned that Adobe Spark is working on Brand sharing which is also very exciting because this is what we were looking to do for Best Buddies.
The presentation I attended was called “Editing Faster and Smarter in Premiere Pro — Part 1.” The video started off by explaining how to string different clips together. She also went over different shortcut keys and how to make your own shortcuts. I learned a lot of different keys to make my editing go by quicker like how to quickly divide clips, rewind, play, and move bits up and down. I also learned how to create my own shortcuts. I generally thought that the conference was pretty good, and I liked that I could rewind and rewatch segments if I didn’t understand something.
Now. Here. This. – Production Manager
One of the sessions I attended was called “Video in the Spotlight”. I watched the portion of the conference that showcased Ava DuVernay and Zendaya. Ava DuVernay talked about her filming process, and she gave a lot of advice saying that if you want to make a film, you should just do it, and it doesn’t take a lot. One thing that really stuck with me was how she talked about her climb to success. She explained how instead of pushing to get in the room with the big directors, she built herself a room and made the most of it, and that’s how she became successful. Zendaya talked about fashion and film that inspires her, and she talked about how she stayed creative during the quarantine.
Heritage Dinner- External Partner Coordinator
I attended the conference called “Quick tips for creating the most engaging social media videos.” Amber Torrealba was the speaker. I would say that it was about thinking ahead of time, using what you have, being creative, how to create the best videos, and sticking out. I learned about the importance of the first five seconds, lighting, audio, transitioning, planning, words/titles/captions, and to always keep creating. One thing I would change about her presentation would be adding more of the content she has created to show more examples and see other styles besides hers that also are engaging social media videos.
Best Buddies – Social Media Content Designer
I attended a session by Zachary Silverstein and Stephanie Newcomb in which they showed off some of the features of Adobe Spark. I learned how to change the style of text, animate a graphic, add a background, and delete the background of a picture. These things will be very useful to me as I continue to create social media content for the upcoming Best Buddies Virtual Gala, and in life, as I need to use Adobe Spark to create marketing content. If I could change anything about this presentation, it would be to allow viewers to play along with Spark as the hosts do. I think that this would make for a better learning experience.
Now. Here. This. – Logistics, Social Media
I learned that you can’t become better or do better without the help of others. Even if you think you reached your max limit, you have so much more potential. When it comes to making our own content, we have to know our community, our audience, and what they want/desire. It is important to become comfortable with your audience and maintain a formal relationship with co-workers and people you are making content for. Be respectful. Be confident in your expertise as the leader of our own online community. Build business relationships based on trust and good experiences.
Heritage Dinner- Marketing and Content Creator
In the conference I attended each speaker spoke a bit about their life and inspiration for art. Each artist had a different style and thought about their artwork. They talked about what their artwork means to them as well as what it means to other people. They also talked about grabbing their audience’s attention with just a simple poster or painting. I learned about the importance of color in artwork and how to be able to tell how other people will interact with your artwork.
In this conference, the leader took the audience through examples of how to begin the editing process as an introduction to Premiere Pro. He used different clips that were provided by Adobe that you could follow along with. I learned a lot of cool tips and tricks about Premiere Pro that will definitely help me in the future. One example of these tips was when he showed us how to organize files and frame a timeline in file form before you actually start working on the timeline. This makes the process of editing the actual clips together a lot easier because now you don’t have to stumble around in search of a specific clip the whole time. The one thing that turned me off from the presentation was the fact that he never actually played the clips he was editing. He would show the files before he put them in the timeline, but after, he would simply drag the marker along without showing what the edit looked like. If I were to change something about this presentation, I would have played the clips for the audience to see fully.
Best Buddies- Video recording, editing, and design
In the conference I attended the presenter talked about how too many creative people just fall into their positions rather than going for the position they want. He talked about some common career paths for people to follow. I found it interesting that he recommended creative producers be open to any position they might be good at, like a CEO or someone on the business side. I did not think that creative people would want to be CEO, but when you think about it, it makes sense. We need more creative business leaders. He did a excellent job, and his presentation made sense and was well thought out.
Best Buddies – Social Media Logistics Lead
I watched “Creating Great Images With Your Phone Part 1”. In this session Katrin Eissman spoke about Adobe Lightroom which is basically a professional photo editing app for iphones. She showed us her phone while using adobe Lightroom. She showed us all of the cool features that the app has to offer such as changing the exposure of the photos (which I liked the most about the app) and changing the different tones of the photo. I learned a lot about this new app, and I am even thinking about downloading it on my own phone because of how useful it is for professional photo taking. I learned that the better quality the photo (the more professional it appears) the more pleasing to the eye it is thus, the more appreciation for the photo.
Tony TepedinoSince starting at Allendale Columbia in 1994, Tony has taken on many different roles. He has coached a variety of sports, including Varsity Girls’ Basketball and Varsity Golf. He taught physical education for seven years, kindergarten for seven years, and served as the Director of Curricular Technology for five years. Tony is currently serving as a faculty member in the Center for Entrepreneurship where he teaches electives for both middle and upper school students. He is also the Faculty Professional Learning Coordinator and C0-creator of TEDxAllendaleColumbiaSchool. Recently, Tony was Co-chair of the NYSAIS Accreditation Steering Committee and is a member of the Upper School Student Success Team responsible for Student Life. During the summer, Tony also works as Program Coordinator for the Iraqi Youth Leadership Exchange Program (IYLEP). He holds a master’s degree in Education from Roberts Wesleyan College. Tony is the proud father of two children, Gabi and Trip. He enjoys hiking, reading, travel, cooking, and learning about new things.
Amy OliveriAmy has been a part of the Allendale Columbia Art Department since the fall of 2010 and serves as Director of the AC Center for Creativity & Entrepreneurship. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Illustration and a Concentration in ASL as well as a Master of Science Degree for Teachers in Art Education from the Rochester Institute of Technology.
Amanda Meldrum-StevensonAmanda holds a Bachelor of Science in Music Therapy from SUNY Fredonia, has studied Vocal Performance and Music Education at Eastman School of Music, and is currently completing a master’s in Creative Arts Therapy at Nazareth College. She brings experience as a board-certified music therapist, rehabilitation therapist, private voice instructor, and youth community musical theatre director. At AC, Amanda manages and directs the Upper School musicals and plays, teaches Upper School theatre classes, leads the Boys Ensemble, and teaches Middle School music electives and Drama Foundations.
Posted in: Authentic Learning, Centers for Impact, Eleventh Grade, Entrepreneurship, Events & Workshops, Highlights, Invent, Ninth Grade, Partnerships, Tenth Grade, Twelfth Grade, Upper School
On February 1st, AC students hosted their eighth-annual TEDx event, an independently organized event run exclusively by students and licensed by TED. This year, eleven speakers took the stage, including retired U.S. Army Colonel Mark Kortepeter, Adrian Hale, Kerry Dunn, and numerous students and community members. This is one of only three TEDx events scheduled in Rochester this year and the only one exclusively organized and run by high school students.
TEDxAllendaleColumbiaSchool 2020 was incredibly successful this year. We are very grateful for all the speakers and volunteers who made a large impact on our event by working hard in all the preparation that took place. Without combined team effort, the event would not have been as successful as it was. New experiences and ideas were brought out this year and many minds were opened because of it.
We were glad to hear that most of you enjoyed your time in your interactive labs! We were excited to have several willing lab hosts for our event. Some of this year’s labs included an intro to screen printing by Tiny Fish, A mini hour of code by STEM and Innovation Director Maya Crosby and AC sophomore Mary Cotter, and a virtual reality experience by Alejandro Perez. We are so thankful for all of our lab hosts for donating their time and knowledge to this year’s event.
We would also like to congratulate all of our speakers for doing an amazing job presenting and sharing their ideas. Speakers from this year were unforgettable and that is why this was one of the best years for TEDxAllendaleColumbiaSchool. This year, 11 speakers took the stage, including Adrian Hale, Kerry Dunn, Lissarette Nisnevich, Jack Jiao, Yueying Bai, Olivia Van Gemert, Autumn Flowers, Mfon Akpan, Andrew Brady, The Garth Fagan Dance Company and Mark Kortepeter.
And, finally, thank you to everyone who attended our event this year!
We plan to share all of our event photos and videos soon so stay tuned via our social media (Twitter, Instagram and Facebook).
Last Friday, December 13th, the Middle School ceramics class presented The Willow Center of Rochester with a donation of $1,368, which they raised at their fifth annual Empty Bowls event at Allendale Columbia School on November 26th. The class made a lot of ceramic bowls and worked with AC faculty and students to help them make items for the fundraiser. They also wrote letters asking local artists to donate items to the raffle.
Empty Bowls is a worldwide grassroots movement to fight hunger and provide items for basic needs. The Willow Center is a nonprofit organization in Rochester that offers a variety of services to families and children. The AC ceramics class was happy to donate all of the proceeds from the event, in the amount of $1,368, to the Willow Center.
Posted in: Authentic Learning, Eighth Grade, Entrepreneurship, Kid Kudos, Lower School, LS Birches, Middle School, MS Birches, Partnerships, Seventh Grade, The Birches, Upper School, US Birches
Students from AC’s Communications, Marketing, and Design class visited Partners + Napier at their new location in downtown Rochester at the Metropolitan building. When we first walked into the conference room there was swag waiting for each student on the table! Mini pendants, pins, and a pencil, inviting us to Leave A Mark.
Posted in: Centers for Impact, Eleventh Grade, Entrepreneurship, Highlights, Ninth Grade, Tenth Grade, The Birches, Twelfth Grade, Upper School, US Birches
This year in Essentials of Entrepreneurship, an entrepreneurship course for Upper Schoolers, students are choosing local businesses, start-ups, incubators, entrepreneurs, and co-working spaces to visit. The students are calling and making arrangements for our visits. Many of our students have never been responsible for seeking out local organizations and people then cold-calling to begin a relationship with them and make arrangements for a meeting. It’s a great opportunity to get them thinking about and planning logistics, timing, details, and travel arrangements.
AC ninth grader Adam Rogers chose to visit RIT Venture Creations. This is an incubator space associated with RIT in Henrietta. On our visit, we explored one start-up and two successful businesses who graduated from the incubator.
Phase Innovations provides new solutions for energy conversion and storage applications. Our work is grounded in a commitment to clean water, air, and energy.
BlackBox Biometrics is the industry leader in sensor technology to instantly assess forces that can cause traumatic brain injury.
Optel provides a variety of services to companies in the medical device field including product design services from concept to initial prototypes through completed product ready for manufacture, manufacturing services in compliance with the requirements of the U.S. FDA current Good Manufacturing Practices, the European medical device standard ISO 13485, and other medical device manufacturing requirements around the world.
Amy Oliveri reflected, “Venture Creations at RIT was a fantastic visit for our entrepreneurship students. Not only did we see businesses in the incubator phase but also successful businesses who had ‘graduated’ from the program within one facility. It seems ideal to be housed with other startup businesses in order to share resources and gain insight. Perhaps the most interesting innovation we saw was from Phase who are investigating new ways to convert heat into cooling solutions. The best advice students received was from the father and son team who run Optel. They said that many people think of entrepreneurship as unstable and uncertain. Their advice – “Entrepreneurship is more certain and stable than working for someone else because you are your own boss.”
Our next visit was to the historic American Hotel in Lima. Thomas Riveros, AC ninth grader, chose this location because of a phenomenal dining experience and the businesses long-standing history.
There has been an American Hotel on this site since about 1790. The first two were made of wood, and the present day building was built in 1840. After two fires in the 1850’s, it was rebuilt in 1861 by Mr. Mosley. The hotel has been owned and operated by the Reynolds family since 1920.
Thomas shared, “I chose this location because I had eaten there before and I really enjoyed it. I loved learning about their history. If you want to be in the restaurant business, then you have to truly care about what you’re doing. If you own a restaurant for the money, you might not be as successful; you have to love what you do and truly care about it.”
Our third location was Atlas Eats. AC tenth grader Alex Wexler chose this location due to his long-standing interest in culinary arts.
At Atlas Eats, they continuously explore the tastes and traditions of foods from around the world. Their changing menus reflect their interpretation of the standards and classics from many cuisines. Atlas Eats procures the freshest ingredients possible from a host of sources in search of the unique and authentic. During the growing season, they engage local farmers and growers for produce whenever possible.
Andrew explained, “I chose this location because I am very interested in the food industry. Atlas had a unique idea to change the menu every two weeks. I thought that the most interesting part of the visit was going into the storage room to see how they stock their supplies and food. One thing I took away was the need to be very enthusiastic about your career in the restaurant business. I would definitely recommend this location to others, it was a very comfortable and nice environment, and I think that it is a must-try!”
Posted in: Eleventh Grade, Entrepreneurship, Highlights, Ninth Grade, Partnerships, Tenth Grade, Twelfth Grade, Upper School, US Birches
By Amy Oliveri, Director of the AC Center for Entrepreneurship and May Term Coordinator
This year’s May Term is focused on helping others. Each Session incorporates service learning into its curriculum. Three charitable drives will run until the end of May Term, which culminates in Exhibition Night on June 6th from 6:00-7:30 p.m. This school-wide celebration showcases the projects and learning that take place during these twelve days of interdisciplinary learning, highlighted by cross-divisional and collaborative teaching models. Some of our sessions are even co-taught by students. (more…)
Posted in: Authentic Learning, Eighth Grade, Eleventh Grade, Entrepreneurship, Highlights, Middle School, Ninth Grade, Partnerships, Seventh Grade, Sixth Grade, Tenth Grade, Twelfth Grade, Upper School