‘Comet Crushers’ mixes learning and social skills for Sandy Creek fifth-graders

Pictured are the finalists and judges for Sandy Creek Elementary School’s Comet Crushers project. Students in the entire fifth-grade were challenged to solve a problem or need for the area community in a similar way to TV show Shark Tank, and the top three from the grade level received cash prizes

SANDY CREEK — When a teacher challenged the fifth-graders at Sandy Creek Elementary to creatively solve a problem or need in the community through a new program called Comet Crushers, the kids responded with a bang.

Throughout the course of several months during the school year, all students developed a product for the project that utilized a number of different subject areas and social skill building opportunities and 10 finalists were chosen to present to judges in a style similar to TV show Shark Tank.

Ultimately, students created a business plan, a logo, slogan, drew an illustration, developed the product, made an advertisement and created a commercial to showcase the idea.

Sandy Creek Elementary Principal Tim Filiatrault said he could not be more proud of the entire grade for their months of hard work and applauded Christie Quenville, the fifth-grade teacher who came up with the idea and guided the process, along with the fifth-grade team for their implementation.

“What a wonderful idea,” said Filiatrault, who also served as one of the judges. “You can see the students took away a lot in terms of math, English, science, business but also their talking skills have come a long way and you can see many with more self-confidence. We can’t wait for next year.”

The top three as judged by a panel of SCCS staff, community members and small business owners received a cash prize, and all the finalists received various prizes and gifts for their participation.

Dani Connors finished first with an idea for a device she named Wrist-It that would help people with ALS which features various personal care attachments.

In second was Erick Garno, who created the BricVac which is a vacuum that would collect building bricks and other small toys. Third place was Peyton Clark whose Hair Tribrid is an all-in-one comb, brush and hair spray.

“Comet Crushers Day was amazing!” said Quenville after the finalists presented. “I couldn’t be more proud of the kids, their hard work and dedication was incredible. They came up with some amazing ideas and learned a ton about themselves and life skills along the way.”

Each student presented in front of their class which included a memorized pitch, a display or PowerPoint and a model of or a working product. Halfway through the project, they had Missy West, a co-founder of Beyond the Game Academy and former Duke Women’s Basketball Player who’s in the NYS Hall of Fame and National Hall of Fame, Zoom in and talk to the students about hard work and believing in yourself. West also surprised the group with a personalized clip from Sarah Apgar, who struck a deal on Shark Tank for her product FitFighter.

The top 10 finalists presented in mid-June to a group that consisted of Filiatrault, Rachel Allen (high school librarian and media specialist), Michele Warner (BOE member, owner of Embellished Catering & Events), Heidi Metott (BOE member, works for a commercial land surveyer), Bonnie Finnerty (former SCCS principal, Executive Director of Regional Success at CiTi BOCES), and owner of The Flashy Flamingo in Pulaski), Chuck Lamon (owner, Victory Promotions in Watertown), Alan Francis (Prevention Services Coordinator at Farnham) and Tory DeCaire (Executive Director at the Child Advocacy Center and former Chief of Police with the city of Oswego).

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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