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Local Highschoolers Compete for Innovation Cup

Hub City Innovation

Originally published on WBBJ's website by Brooklyn Kent.

JACKSON, Tenn.—The Jackson Madison County School System high schoolers had the chance to present their smarts at Union University.

Union University’s College of Business hosted the Hub City High School Innovation Cup.

This event was originally hosted for college students to give their ideas, but for the past two years this event has been catered to high school students.

“You know, we find that the Innovation Cup is a great way for students to have an active role in thinking about some of the challenges in our local community, but also what are those solutions to make our community better,”  said Molly Plyler, District Stem and Computer Science Director.

Students are given 24 hours to gather the materials that they need to help their argument then present to the judges.

This can be demonstrated through a PowerPoint presentation or 3D model.

A student from Liberty says how their team prepared for today’s contest.

“We researched some statistics about certain things and we went around campus and asked a couple of students about their ideas and seen if it would benefit them,” said Ariana Williamson, Student at Liberty Tech High School.

One of Jackson Madison County School System’s newest schools, Jackson Academic Steam Academy is an online school, participated in person for today’s competition.

“We had four students on our team this year and three of them are returning from last year, which makes me very excited. They feel confident to come back for another round,” said Megan Barker, Teacher at Madison Academic Steam Academy.

With every competition there are prizes. The winning students receive the Innovation Cup.

Top 3 teams receive cash prizes sponsored by Leaders Education Foundation, and a scholarship from Union University.

Last year winners were Southside High School students.

“I actually wasn’t on the team, but me being on the team for the first year, it makes me want to win this year,” said Dallas Weddle, South Side High School student.

Congratulations to South Side High School, they were able to win it again this year!

The coaches of the teams enjoyed seeing their students practice career skills at such a young age.

Additional information:

  • Cash prizes for the winning teams (1st, 2nd, and 3rd place) were sponsored by: Leaders Education Foundation
  • The United Way of West Tennessee will make a $500 contribution to the local non-profit chosen/selected by first-place winning team
  • Meals throughout the 2-day event were provided by: University of Memphis-Lambuth, TCAT-Jackson, and the Greater Jackson Chamber
  • Judges included: Dr. Frank McMeen (President, Community Foundation of West Tennessee), Dr. Martha Robinson (Associate Professor of Teaching, University of Memphis – Lambuth), Heath McMillian (President, TCAT – Jackson), Mandy White (Chief Economic Development Officer; the Greater Jackson Chamber), and Lauren Kirk (Chief Innovation Officer; City of Jackson)