Wheeling entrepreneurs capture prize at District 214 Future Ready Showcase


A team of Wheeling High School entrepreneurs took home $2,500 on May 13 after impressing a panel of judges with their innovative product.

Students who created Straw Sheath – a portable, reusable straw with a stylish cover –won the funds at District 214’s Startup Showcase. The students created the silicon straw in their entrepreneurship class and worked on creating a business plan over the last several months.

The Startup Showcase was one part of District 214’s Future Ready Showcase, an evening where students from across the District gathered to present their innovative work. Along with pitching their businesses, students showcased their legal expertise and oratorical skills through mock trials, presented their commercial and residential architectural designs and displayed the iOS apps they have built from scratch.

The goal of the overall event is to show community members and parents what the District’s Career Pathways program offers students – opportunities to explore their interests and discover careers while in high school.

As part of the District’s Design214 course, students spent a semester creating floor plans for Lewis University’s space at the Chicago Executive Airport and a home in Rolling Meadows that will be remodeled by construction students in District 214.

Throughout the semester, students consulted with industry professionals to get feedback on their work. Area businesses said they were impressed with the course and the real-world experience students received.

The robust Career Pathways program provides all District 214 students with rigorous academic courses, access to early college credits and industry certifications, and personalized, work-based learning experiences. Students can choose from pathways such as aviation, business management, culinary arts, engineering, health sciences, IT and manufacturing.

As part of District 214’s entrepreneurship curriculum, students are asked to solve an everyday problem. Members of the Straw Sheath team said they wanted to decrease the amount of plastic pollution by creating an environmentally-friendly product that is also stylish and convenient. Students said the course taught them skills to help them sustain a business, including teamwork and project management.

The $2,500 is funded by the District 214 Education Foundation. Students on the Straw Sheath team include Giaden Halfman, Liliana Geati, Katie Williams, Sarena Yeh, Consuelo Martinez and Anna Emery.

Startup Showcase judges were Christen Carter, president/owner of Busy Beaver Button Co., Karen Carter, employer solutions executive at Advocate Aurora Health, Margarita Geleske, executive director of INCubatoredu, Larry Moats, owner of Moats Office Properties and Zeeshan Tejani, entrepreneur.

To learn more about District 214’s Career Pathways program, visit www.discover214.org.

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