Student Wins GISD Pitch Competition
Posted on 05/16/2019









We all watch the popular show “Shark Tank” on the ABC Network; some contestants get a deal some go home. Westwood Heights schools have been fortunate to have had three students be a part of several local Shark Tank-style competitions. For one of the students who attended Academy West Alternative High School, it has changed his life.

student win pitch


Andrico Moffett is a 10th grader at Academy West Alternative High School. Andrico is a quiet student who stays mostly stays to himself. Andrico loves to play video games in his spare time. One day, Andrico was playing video games when he noticed his hands sweating from playing the game for a long time. During the intense gaming competition, he dropped his controller and lost the game, at that time, a light bulb went off.

student win pitch


Ms. Sarah Gekeler, Academy West Alternative High School Life Science teacher, told the class about the GISD Pitch Challenge. Genesee Intermediate School District (GISD) announced Genesee County’s First Annual Countywide Pitch Competition. The competition featured some of Genesee County creative high school students that would face off in a “Shark Tank” style setting to pitch their business ideas. Academy West teacher Ms. Gekeler pitch the GISD contest to five of her students. Out of the five, three met the GISD pitch competition criteria. Andrico Moffett tells us, “I didn’t care too much about being a part of the GISD Pitch Competition, but Ms. G (Gekleler) teacher motivated me to bring my idea to life. Ms. G stop me and said you have a lot of great ideas in my class, she encouraged me, so I end up liking it.” Andrico pitched his idea and ended up winning the school-wide competition and won $100 gift cards and the opportunity to be a part of the GISD Shark Tank-style event. Moffett expressed, “I figured that someone would make it (his idea) soon because it was so easy.”

student win pitch

This new initiative was designed to spark youth entrepreneurship interest and help boost entrepreneurial mindsets among the students. The GISD was awarded a grant through the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation to set up Youth Entrepreneurship Clubs at high schools across the county, train participating Club Advisors and support the first countywide Pitch Competition. 16 youth along with Andrico presented their idea to the crowd at the GISD event. Academy West Principal Paul Casey, “I thought It was a cool thing for the GISD to come up with because the whole Shark Tank things have everyone attention right now.”

Andrico arrived at the GISD event, “When I got there were a lot of other kids there, and they all had good ideas. I didn’t think I was going to make it far; some of the ideas were about cancer which pilled people heartstrings." The time had come for Andrico to take the stage to pitch his ideas. With Academy West Principal Paul Casey and his Teacher Ms. Gekeler there for support. Andrico Life Science teacher, Sarah Gekeler says, “I never thought about the impact this (contest) will have on his life. This was something that I just did. I didn’t realize how much it meant to him until his name was called."

Andrico took the stage and asked the audience, ” Are you tired of your game controller slipping out of your hand, while you are in the middle of some action pack gaming, and it cost you the game because you drop the controller”? Andrico pitches his idea “Slip Grippers” a game controller that is eco-friendly made with recyclable materials. Andrico Moffett wants to make the game controller out of silicone and materials from the water bottles left over from the Flint Water Crisis. Andrico tells me after his pitch, “This got rid of a lot of fear for me, I can now speak in public.” The moment had come when the judges made their decisions, and Andrico was named one of the Top 5 winners. Ms. Grekeler was emotional, “I started crying, I was like oh my God, it was like watching your own child start walking. It was a huge milestone.” After the pitch, Andrico realizes that with his voice dreams could come true. He is looking to go after more opportunities in life.

student wins pitch contest

Andrico Moffett winnings for the contest was Apple Air ear pods, $350 in Gift Cards, a Trophy, his picture on a Billboard and to meet with an entrepreneur through the Mott Foundation. Sarah Dekeler advice to her students, “Our students in Flint, have amazing ideas. I think that the culture and oppressing of Flint hold them down and they need to know that you have great ideas, you are worth it, you have a voice. You need to find it and find the right people to help you with it.” Andrico tells me, “all things are possible if you believe,” Andrico will spend some of his winnings talking his mother out for Mother’s Day. Congratulations to Andrico Moffett on the GISD Pitch Competition win and thank you for representing the Westwood Heights School district.

student wins pitch contest

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