From alleviating the housing crisis to conserving water, Saint Francis students want to help the world run better. In the Entrepreneurship and Design Think for Justice classes, taught by Mr. Conley and Father Steve Kim, students honed in on an existing problem and devised a solution to fix it. Their efforts culminated at the inaugural Lancer Tank, modeled after the television show, where students pitched their business plans to a panel of judges.
“Lancer Tank was the perfect opportunity for students to demonstrate what they learned and create something with a social impact,” said Father Steve Kim.
For senior Matthew Huo, the beauty of participating in Lancer Tank was knowing that his and classmates’ ideas have the potential to change the lives of people in their communities. The idea his team presented to the judges was BuzzPlate, a piece of wearable technology that monitors decreases in heart rate and electrodermal activity and administers a sharp vibration to keep users alert. The judges awarded his team the Innovative Award for being forward-thinking and presenting a creative solution.
“I was so proud of my team,” he said. “Everyone was all in, and it showed in the results, affirming all the hard work we put into the company.”
Many teens have good ideas, but they don’t always have the confidence or know-how to bring their idea to life, Matthew said, so entrepreneurial-minded classes and activities are valuable additions to the curriculum. At Saint Francis, students not only have the opportunity to learn the expertise needed to be future successful entrepreneurs, but they do so through the lens of Holy Cross teaching.
“It is critical that these leaders of the future are grounded in Holy Cross values, their ideas and inspirations infused with social consciousness and responsibility,” said Principal Katie Teekell ’00.
To encourage more creative work from students, Saint Francis High School has created a new fund, the SFHS Innovation Fund, to accelerate the development of more programs like Lancer Tank and classes such as Entrepreneurship and Design Thinking for Justice. Saint Francis is grateful to the anonymous alumni angel investors who have generously offered a $20,000 matching gift challenge to double every dollar contributed to this fund.