College Reimagined!

College Reimagined!

Recently, a student pitch contest was held at Macomb Community College that students at both Dakota High School and Chippewa Valley High School attended. This challenge was one having to do with college, more specifically the decrease in student enrollment. There were two sections to this competition, one for students at the college, and one for high schoolers. Although Chippewa Valley won overall, taking a trophy home with them, Dakota did not walk away fully defeated! The students from our school presented a multitude of plans, all with the goal of “re-imagining” the college experience.  

A women named Ellen Lux is the director of the Center of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Macomb Community College. She helped to host this competition and said in an interview (linked here) that “the students didn’t disappoint. Their ideas were certainly innovative.”  

These students came from the leadership group at Dakota, and they participated in the high school segment of this competition titled “Rising Stars.” This section of the competition was all about using media (mainly TikTok) to present ideas as to how to fix the rapidly declining rate of college enrollment. Each team made a one-minute TikTok video before the competition- which they then presented in front of a panel of three judges. Each presentation was graded on the idea itself, the quality of the video, and the level of professionalism from each of the students. Dakota High School went into this with three teams consisting of two students per team. The different groups, their grade, and their ideas follow: 

Carina Cabarios (11) & Shea Moran (11): College requires student mentors to help navigate, reduce stress, and homesickness. 

Alyssa Balcom (12) and Kendyl Baron (12): Chose your class section based on your learning style for greater chance of success. 

Olivia Wheeler (12) and Maria Mastronardi (12): Guidance through the College Shadow Program. 

After making their presentations, the students also had to respond to questions asked by the judges, meaning they had to think quickly and on their feet, which is no easy task, especially under the pressure of this intense competition.  

Olivia Wheeler, one of the participants said this about her experience:  

“It was a super cool experience and I learned so much about professionally presenting. It was intimidating not knowing the questions they were going to ask but I feel Maria and I thought pretty well for thinking on our feet and answered them effectively. Unfortunately, we didn’t win this year but hopefully Dakota can bring it home next year!”

Each student received a $500 scholarship from the Macomb Community College Foundation for tuition, books, and other college fees. Scholarships are obviously a crucial part of the application process for seniors because they help to alleviate some of the financial burdens that student loans can put on the students. This will help them focus on school and homework rather than the looming fear of future debt. The students at this competition put in exceptional work and effort- they are definitely deserving of this reward!