Hilltop Happenings

'Mr. Wonderful' Would be Proud: Summit Area YMCA Holds 'Shark Tank - Middle School Edition' Grand Finale

Paul Kieltyka, President & CEO of the Summit Area YMCA, congratulates one of the 'Shark Tank - Middle School Edition' participants.
The participants worked together and individually to create unique concepts.
A young man presents his concept.
Participants file past the judges.
The judges discuss the merits of each presentation.

SUMMIT, NJ - After weeks of hard work and practice, middle school entrepreneurs made their final pitch to guest judges yesterday at the Summit Area YMCA's 'Shark Tank - Middle School Edition' Grand Finale. The Shark Tank program drives youth potential, creativity, and develops insight into the entrepreneurial business world. Students learn the inner workings of creating a business plan and how to present them to investors.

Middle schoolers Sahil Sirdeshpande, Om Desai, Gyan Ghoda, Pablo Carvajal and Geremy Lora presented unique business ideas that they worked together to create over the course of several weeks, with concepts including:

 - S.T.E.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) coding classes

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- A flyer/logo/menu graphic designs company

- A stop motion camp for kids

- A healthy smoothie company

Each 'contestant' was awarded a cash prize courtesy of program facilitator Jon Budish, who volunteered his time to the program. Budish, who possesses more than 30 years of experience as a financial advisor and broker, also previously led a financial literacy series for high school students at The Summit Y.

“I think this is a great program for our Middle School age group,” says Paul Kieltyka, President & CEO of the Summit Area YMCA who was also present at the Shark Tank Finale. “Kids are not only being creative, but they are putting their innovations to practical use and really learning about how things work in the business world. Providing a free program like this can only do good for our kids -- they’re ambitious, smart, and talented, and the Y is all about making sure every child has a chance to discover their potential. Our future as a community and a country depends on the foundations and opportunities we provide for our kids.”

To learn more about youth enrichment and teen life skills programs at the Summit Area YMCA, visit thesay.org.


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