YES! Berryville students shine in state competition
By Haley Schichtl
Three teams in Berryville’s Gifted and Talented program participated in the Youth Entrepreneurship Showcase (YES) on Friday, Feb. 14 in Hot Springs. These teams were ranked in the top 25 out of nearly 200 applicants.
The showcase gave the Berryville students the opportunity to set up their store fronts and sell their products, competing for awards in four categories. Jaden Hood and Sadie Sharp, who came up with “Savin’ Shavins,” won first place in two of the categories.
“We did not think we were going to win anything,” Sharp said. “But we won first for best retail booth and first for best marketing piece.”
Their product is an eco-friendly fire starter, made from a jute bag filled with pencil shavings, sold for $3 each. Sharp said they sold about 30 of them at the showcase.
“We learned that we’re good at different sides of the business,” Sharp said. “I definitely did the speaking and she did the business plan.”
Sharp said the hardest part of the showcase for her was setting up her booth, because they were given a limited amount of time, parts of her decor were falling off and she was worried she wouldn’t finish in time.
“It was a good experience to get to go put yourself out there and talk to new people,” Sharp said.
“It was way out of my comfort zone,” Hood said.
Middle school GT coordinator Delene McCoy said the top 25 applicants for the showcase were picked by the Advisory Council for the Education of Gifted & Talented Children, solely based on their written business plans.
“The judges that chose the top 25 didn’t see their booth, didn’t see their product or anything prior,” McCoy said. “They had to project a month of sales, project the profit they would make and what their product actually cost them to make. They had to describe their customers, prove that they had done their research on what the market was like. … It was about a 12-page business plan.”
The two other teams from Berryville that were also chosen in the top 25 were Aubrey Lee with “Glowing Glass,” and Ella Miller, Ayanna Sincero and Carly Ward with “Sunny T’s.”
Glowing Glass is a nightlight made from painted glass bottles with LED lights inside, and Sunny T’s are bags made from old T-shirts.
The showcase was held along with the Arkansans for Gifted and Talented Education (AGATE) conference, McCoy said.
At the conference, McCoy was awarded $500 and the GT program was awarded honorable mention as best GT program for medium-sized schools, with enrollment between 1,000 and 3,000. McCoy said she plans on investing her winnings back into the classroom.
“We’ve been named honorable mention twice in the last three years,” McCoy said. “We will try again for first place, but we’re honored to be one of the top two gifted programs for our size schools in Arkansas.”
McCoy said this week is Gifted & Talented Week.
“The gifted population is somewhere between 8 and 12 percent of the students in Arkansas,” McCoy said. “I feel like we go above and beyond the state requirements in our gifted program with all the things we offer our students.”
The students also have