The student-run news site of The Masters School

Tower

The student-run news site of The Masters School

Tower

The student-run news site of The Masters School

Tower

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Masters hosts first-ever Diamond Challenge

For the first time in the school’s history, Masters was named a pitch partner for the Diamond Challenge, held on Saturday, February 24, in the school’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center.

Started in 2012, The Diamond Challenge,  is a“philanthropic education initiative” according to the competition sponsor, the University of Delaware. The challenge is straightforward: create an innovative product that solves a problem.

The Diamond Challenge focuses on two specific competition tracks — “Business Innovation” and “Social Innovation.” For Business Innovation projects, the goal is to solve a consumer problem or hole in the market, and in so doing, generate revenue and profit. Social Innovation projects focus on solving social problems and creating visible change through their product, benefitting the world.

The pitches vary greatly, including devices designed to remove microplastics, new types of water filtration systems designed to be more affordable, and even a device capable of reading inside a chicken egg.

As a pitch partner, Masters was responsible for hosting schools from across the country to have their teams’ pitches evaluated, serving as one of only four pitch sites in the United States.

All students taking an entrepreneurship course attended, serving as tour guides for those visiting Masters, technical assistants during presentations, volunteers during registration, and more.

Senior Gabriel Heller was heavily involved in the Diamond Challenge process. He competed in the Masters Innovation Showcase, and the team he led — himself, senior Chloe Lane, and junior Matt Sanzenbacher — advanced to compete at Rutgers University for the Diamond Challenge Venture Showcase, the next level of the competition. He also interviewed Saturday’s keynote speaker and assisted throughout the day.

Heller expressed his gratitude and celebration for how the day turned out. He said, “I thought the day was fantastic. This is the first time our school has hosted an event like this, and I think to welcome the new building with the Diamond Challenge was a really amazing idea.”

In addition to student pitches, Masters welcomed keynote speaker Julie Rice, co-founder of SoulCycle and Peoplehood, and parent of a Masters student in the class of 2030. Rice spoke about her experience as a businesswoman and creating a new idea. She also fielded questions in a session led by Heller. She spoke about several important ideas within innovation, such as creative risk-taking, and offered some advice to the crowd listening to her speech.

Heller explained that his interview questions were a collaborative effort across all the entrepreneurship classes. He said, “In order to prepare, the three entrepreneurship classes all came up with questions they wanted to ask.”

“One all those questions were compiled, [Head of School] Ms. Danforth shared the list with me. We spoke about wanting to leave the audience with a feeling of inspiration after the interview, so I took the questions that would leave that feeling with the audience.”

Heller noted that the level of creativity and excellence across the board was extremely high, and the ideas people presented were all unique and pressing creations.

“The teams that came in were all excellent, the pitches were excellent, and the ideas were great,” he said. “The day went by really smoothly and everyone did an amazing job.”

“To be able to pitch an idea in front of real judges with successful businesses in high school is a very unique experience, and to be able to do that at our school is a huge privilege,” Heller concluded.

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