“What is your superpower?”

That is the question that kicked off a weekend of creativity, critical thinking, and problem-solving for 47 Seattle students. This past weekend, Community for Youth and The Alchemy Project teamed up to deliver a two-day workshop designed to get students thinking like entrepreneurs by tackling a challenge in their community and developing a business pitch.

Starting on Saturday, April 23, students from Seattle-area high schools came together at Substantial in Capitol Hill, where they split up into nine teams to compete for a grand prize. Students were asked to identify key challenges in their communities, and to come up with creative and innovative business pitches to solve these challenges. Each team worked closely with a volunteer advisor with industry experience and knowledge, and advisors gently coached students through the process of creating their pitch. 

The two-day process was divided into five phases:

  • Choosing the Challenge, in which students thought carefully about problems in their communities that could be solved with innovative solutions, and chose one to focus on for the duration of the project.
  • Ideation, in which students brought forth all of the potential solutions to the problem that they chose.
  • Selection, in which students selected a single solution on which to build their pitch.
  • Rapid Prototyping, in which students created rough drafts of what their solution will look like.
  • Pitch Crafting, in which students created their final pitches and prepared to present them.

At the end of the entire process, students presented their pitches to a panel of four professionals, who watched each presentation, provided thoughtful feedback, and selected a winner to receive a grand prize. During each presentation, students introduced themselves by sharing their names and superpowers, and then clearly communicated their pitches, with each member of each group having a specific role. 

All teams demonstrated immense compassion and interest in their communities, choosing to focus on topics such as environmentalism, mental health, inclusivity in schools, and unhoused populations. The final winners at the end of the weekend were The Hagrids, who developed a pitch for a solar roof that generates energy and collects rainwater. The winning team received a certificate and an additional $100 toward their cash stipend for attending the workshop.

Following the conclusion of the event, students shared what they loved most about The Alchemy Project, with many indicating that they enjoyed the opportunity to connect with others in a collaborative space and work toward a common goal.

“I felt more confident about my career path because the supportive atmosphere the workshop facilitated helped me feel like my feelings and ideas are being valued,” shared one student. “Also, in the workshop, I think that I liked the discussion time with my team members the most.”

The efforts put forth by our students this past weekend were incredible to witness, and we couldn’t have done it without the entire network of individuals and organizations who came together to make The Alchemy Project a huge success!

We extend our deepest gratitude to the following individuals:

  • Our four judges, who came together to watch student presentations, select a winning team, and give critical feedback: Jinna Hagerty, Quenita Fry, Brad Near, and Angelica Maria Gonzalez.
  • Our nine advisors, who coached and guided our student teams throughout the weekend: Arthur Gordon, Brian Porter, Chen Hsu, Christina Deogracias, Claire Heflin, Eric Aker, Harsh Srivastava, Sanika Sahasrabuddhe, and Uzo Akotaobi.
  • Virgilia Pruthi, founder of The Alchemy Project, for developing our curriculum and helping us to facilitate such an incredible event.
  • CfY Board Member SL Rao and Substantial, for hosting this event in a beautiful and inspiring space and helping us create a memorable experience.

We would also like to thank Boeing and The Norcliffe Foundation for providing valuable funding which made this event possible. 

We are so proud of all of the teams who went above and beyond coming up with solutions to issues faced by our community members, and of the maturity, adaptability, and ingenuity shown by all of our team members! As we head toward the finish line and approach the end of our program year here at CfY, we can’t wait to see all of the amazing things that our youth will accomplish, and the ways that they will continue to excel. 

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