It’s not often that students from multiple schools have the opportunity to collaborate and share ideas. But students at Ursuline Academy, Salesianum and Serviam Academy recently did just that as part of a new entrepreneurial leadership program sponsored by 1313 Innovation.
The Innovation Class at Ursuline Academy is a high school exchange program designed to inspire 11th and 12th grade students at Ursuline and Salesianum to create their own inventions, present their ideas, and share the discovery and learning experience with younger students. That’s where Serviam Girls Academy comes in.
The Innovation Class is a collaborative initiative among the McConnell Family Foundation, The Horn School of Entrepreneurship at the University of Delaware and Ursuline Academy. Erin McNichol, an Ursuline faculty member, has taken the vision of educating young entrepreneurs and teachers a customized a University of Delaware online course that includes real life challenges.
The college credit course is designed to build a group of young, critically thinking innovators. ‘The students from Ursuline and Salesianum were really passionate about what they’ve learned, and our 8th graders enjoyed hearing about the challenges and the process of invention,” said Peggy Prevoznik Heins, President of Serviam Girls Academy. “The older students helped give broader meaning to the concept of innovation,” she said.
The 16 high school juniors and seniors pointed out that prototypes don’t have to be complex to begin a design idea, and that no idea is bad. They also stressed the importance of keeping an “opportunity notebook” and looking for ways to improve a “pain point” or a problem. The Serviam students, in turn, shared their own ideas and projects and sought advice from the high schoolers.
“We are incredibly grateful for opportunities like this,” said Serviam’s Heins. “It’s quite powerful and memorable when older students can help teach new ideas to our younger students.”