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Shark Tank for Phantoms

by Danielle Golden Giglio

For the seventh year in a row entrepreneurial students of Bayport-Blue Point High School participated in The Phantom Challenge which is based on the television show “Shark Tank”. In February nine students showcased seven different inventions from an app that Ubers via boat to Fire Island to a nationwide Spikeball tournament.

This event was started by the School to Business program where local business owners participate and mentor students of the high school. Tom Oswald business teacher at Bayport-Blue Point High School and one of the organizers of Phantom Challenge explained how it is open to any high school student from any discipline – not just business students. All the students participating have worked on their project for two months. He said, “This is all extra, that is the beauty of it – there are no grades. They all volunteered to do it on their own time outside of school.”

Lenore Ringer-Prezioso, a member of Bayport-Blue Point Chamber of Commence who is also part of the School to Business Partnership is totally amazed by the students. “They come up with such brilliant ideas. Plus the fact that these young people are comfortable enough to get up in front of other adults to make a presentation is so impressive.”

Each student explains their inventions to the audience and a four person panel of judges made up alumni, business leaders and school administrators. All Phantom Challengers thoroughly researched ideas including how to market it and financials. Being totally professional they had to answer some tough questions from the judges during their presentation. The Vinny Perry Golf Scholarship raises the funds to give to the top three finishers in this competition with a total of $1, 5000 in prizes that will hopefully be put into their ideas.

It was senior Elizabeth Auwaerter third year doing the Phantom Challenge and she presented the Digipot. Her plant passion and fascination with technology sparked this idea. Digipot is a pot that is connected to an app where you enter the type of plant you are growing and it automatically tell you how much water that species needs, it plays music, is solar powered and self sufficient for up to two months. She said, “It also tells you where the best place in your house for your plant is to live. I am hoping maybe later after college I can do a start up business with the Digipot.”

Jacob Lurie, also a senior presented his invention that he calls Edubridge. It is a phone and desktop application that connects students, teacher and school districts so there is one place for everything in a student’s schedule - homework, class work, sports and clubs. Of course most inventions come from a light bulb moment that Jacob had when complaining to his mom about all the activities he needed to keep track of including passwords. He will be studying mechanical engineering in college next year and said, “I love it the Phantom Challenge because it is a great way for students to get into the entrepreneurial mind set early on.”


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