The United States Army | Corpus Christi Army Depot

CCAD test pilots judge school competition, encourage student creativity, entrepreneurialism

by Quentin Johnson, CCAD Public Affairs

Aaron Hoss (blue shirt), electroplating branch chief, Corpus Christi Army Depot, Texas, speaks with a prospective job seeker about the many opportunities at CCAD during the DoD Hiring Heroes Career Fair at Fort Sam Houston, San Antonio, Texas, March 20, 2019.
Skyler Stevens, a 5th-grade student at Kolda Elementary School, Corpus Christi, Texas, presents his product or brand "Get Hooked" to a panel of judges during the 2nd Annual Kolda Elementary School Entrepreneur Quest competition, March 28.  Stevens was one of 11 students competing to win the competition and a chance to win $100 towards the marketing of their idea.  Photos by Quentin Johnson (RELEASED)

CORPUS CHRISTI, TX (March 28, 2019) -- Representatives from the Corpus Christi Army Depot had a unique opportunity to participate in the Kolda Elementary School Entrepreneur Quest competition at Kolda, March 28.

Three CCAD pilots were guests as part of a five-judge panel for the annual competition where 5th-grade students present a creative and new product concept they have created, said Josie Alvarez, Kolda principal. The competition resembles the entrepreneurial-themed reality show, Shark Tank®.

This year, 11 students presented brand ideas from fishing tackle jewelry to custom-created hats with built in sunglasses in hopes of winning the grand prize of a $100 donation to help start their business, said Alvarez. Each project was vetted for age level and appropriateness.

Alvarez said the competition is more than just winning the grand prize, but a learning tool for the students to incorporate school subjects they have been taught for the past 4 years.

"Each design encompassed how (the student) integrated subjects such as math, science, writing, and reading," said Alvarez.

Another benefit of the competition is a creative outlet for students to learn how to work with others, learn authentic business practices and put themselves into their product.

"I enjoy being creative, and I wanted to see how far I could go with my ideas," said Talen Silvas, 11, who won the competition with his product - individual, homemade peanut butter and jelly slices.

Silvas said Alvarez, his teacher and others students were very supportive of his idea, which he calls "The Good Stuff."

"Other students have been very encouraging, my teacher is supportive and my principle even gave me a few ideas on packaging the product," said Silvas.

Silvas said he was most thankful to the judges and to all the members from CCAD who help support Kolda at different events.

Army Chief Warrant Officer 4 Andrew Gardner, test pilot, CCAD, and frequent Kolda volunteer, said he enjoys being able to support the school and see how creative students can be.

"I was honored to be here and help the children out," said Gardner. "The (projects) were crazy. The 'Good Stuff' idea blew my mind."

Gardner said he was there to encourage the students, but ended up finding himself encouraged as most of the products developed where about giving back to campaigns such as anti-bullying, cleaning up state parks and donating to wounded warriors.

"I'm glad these children think about others," said Gardner. "I think it is great schools are teaching our children about giving back and charitable organizations."

Each student was encouraged to continue their pursuit of marketing and selling their products, even if they didn't place in the competition. This includes expanding their brand or creating new ideas.

"Don't ever give up... run with your ideas and keep expanding," said Gardner.

Yvonne Hein, elementary math specialist for the Corpus Christi Independent School District, Corpus Christi, Texas, reviews "The Be Kind Project" during the 2nd Annual Kolda Elementary School Entrepreneur Quest competition at Kolda, March 28. The product or brand, created by 5th graders Samuel Pyle, 10, and Luis Torres, 11, is a clothing-line concept to promote anti-bullying.

Talen Silvas, 11, peels cellophane off his product "The Good Stuff" - individual, homemade peanut butter and jelly slices - during the 2nd Annual Kolda Elementary School Entrepreneur Quest competition at Kolda, March 28. Silvas was the grand prize winner of $100 to help market and sell his product.

Army Chief Warrant Officer 3 Paul Crandall, test pilot, Corpus Christi Army Depot, Texas, tries on the "Cool Cap," a hat with a gel ice pack inserted inside, during the 2nd Annual Kolda Elementary School Entrepreneur Quest competition at Kolda, March 28. The "Cool Cap" product was designed by 5th-grade students Lilliana Bean and Adrianna Cantu.

Army Chief Warrant Officer 4 Andrew Gardner, test pilot, Corpus Christi Army Depot, Texas, shakes hands with 11-year-old Talen Silvas to congratulate Silvas on winning the 2nd Annual Kolda elementary Entrepreneur Quest competition at Kolda, March 28. Silvas won for his product "The Good Stuff" - individual, homemade peanut butter and jelly slices.

Josie Alvarez, principal, Kolda Elementary School, Corpus Christi, Texas, poses with the 5th-grade students who participated in the 2nd Annual Kolda Elementary School Entrepreneur Quest competition at Kolda, March 28. The competition is an opportunity for the students to present a creative and new product concept they have created to a panel of judges for the chance to win $100 towards the marketing of their idea or brand.

 

Designated a Center of Industrial and Technical Excellence for rotary wing aircraft, Corpus Christi Army Depot ensures aviation readiness through overhaul, repair, modification, retrofit, testing, recapitalization, and modernization of helicopters, engines and components. This effort includes world-wide on-site field maintenance teams, analytical crash investigations and chemical material process facilities. CCAD serves as a depot training base for active duty Army, National Guard, and reserve units. CCAD, as South Texas' largest industrial employer, employs more than 5500 personnel and contractors providing an overall economic impact of more than $1.14 billion to the local community.