Showing off for the sharks of DB


Calvin Ru

Juniors Clarissa Hui, Kaitlyn Lee and Jacky Chen present their winning “Clubhouse” app idea to a board of “sharks” who judged their proposal.

Calvin Ru, Photo Editor

Adapted from the popular television series “Shark Tank,” Diamond Bar High School’s Future Business Leaders of America club challenged students to pitch an invention to a board of sharks, or judges, in hopes to obtain a  $100 prize. Despite coming up with  the idea mere days prior to the event, the officer board and advisor Ty Watkins were able to pull off  the two-day competition without a hitch.

The competition held on American Enterprise Day, an FBLA holiday, was modeled after a similar contest held at Leadership Development Institute, an annual event in November.

“Originally we had a different workshop planned for American Enterprise Day but we wanted something more interactive. It was  midnight and Watkins was like ‘let’s do Shark Tank’… and we planned everything out that night,” co-President June Lin said.

Teams, composed of three to five members, had three days to develop a product that would be worth investing in. While time did not allow for the creation of physical products, each team had a poster and a presentation explaining what their idea was and why the “sharks”  should invest in the device.

On Nov. 15, the first round of FBLA Shark Tank was held in Watkin’s room, with  senior co-Presidents Lin and Vinay Bhupathiraju, Vice Presidents Ameer Alameddin and Shannen Barrameda and ex-officio Jessica Zhang serving as the sharks.. Each team pitched its idea to the sharks, and its product was graded on a rubric based on several items: theme, realism, uniqueness, description, target market, terminology, answering questions and appeal.

“It was a very different experience because last year, I was one of the presenters at LDI. This year, I’m the shark and it’s cool to see different perspectives,” Lin said.

Among the nine teams, only four advanced. The Fantastic Five, seniors Jodie Lu and Cyan Vong and juniors Jefferson Chang, Rajvir Dua and Ryan Trinh, designed the “iMat,” a mat that would double as an alarm clock and require the user to stand on  it to turn it off. Sophomores Karyn Real, Aishwarya Rane, Jodi Nguyen and Mason Pan and freshman Sahil Patel thought of a luggage system, “Follow Me,” that would allow travelers to have their baggage follow them on a Bluetooth connected cart.

Sophomore Calvin Tang and freshmen Calvin Ung and Andrew Han, also known as Team Imaginovation, created the Pen Pineapple Apple Pen, a pen that burns trash to release a scent allowing the user to remain awake during class. The pen is environmentally friendly and powered by any biodegradable material.

But the winning group was Team PentaJunias, which is composed of juniors Clarissa Hui, Jackie Chen, Kaitlyn Lee, Rishil Pansuria and Ashvini Bhupatiraju. They created the “Clubhouse” app to  compile all clubs and activities into one app that would be accessible by both students and teachers at any time, while administrative properties would remain with officers and advisors.

“I’ve been in the perspective of the sharks, criticizing ideas, but when you’re actually presenting, it’s a whole other position. I realized how hard it is to come up with an innovative idea, and it taught me that to be successful, you have to go out and think beyond the box,” Chen said.

The second round was held in the gym, but rather than having officers be the sharks, Principal Reuben Jones, Tech administrator Randy Thomas and teachers Latitia Thomas, Patrick Murphy, Kurt Davies and Mary Gaxiola sat in for a chance to question the presenters.

“I was really impressed with the students, the creativity, the thought that went into it on such short notice. To think of a creative idea and present it to staff and administration really meant a lot. This was definitely one of the most exciting events I’ve done this year,” Jones said.