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Posted on July 2nd 2015
RISE Enterprise Challenge Dragons' Den Final - Full Report
By Mr Stubbs, Teacher of Science
On Wednesday 1 July, team SoaR from HBAED made their way to The May Fair Hotel unsure of what was there to await them. Rumours of Twitter accounts with 5k followers, top business leaders and stiff competition all plagued the minds of our four boys as they travelled in the sweltering heat to meet their fate. Upon arrival they realised they were up against stiff competition: lecture notes, team huddles and breathing techniques. This wasn’t going to be an easy ride.
First up were Hampton Boys, a public school situated in West London. They were serious contenders from the off: slick introductions; calm, confident demeanours; and smooth transitions between speakers. All points were made eloquently with faint splashes of self-deprecation and humility. The bar was set. High. Very High.
HBAED stepped up
“Hello I’m Philip. This is Rayyan, Jeremiah and Nii-Akwei and we are team SoaR”. As a teacher it was one of those very rare moments where you see your students nervous and vulnerable yet you can do very little to help them. I’m glad to say they didn’t need it. Their presentation was the best example of public speaking I have seen in boys of their age, not only because of the way it was delivered but with the way in which they demonstrated they had connected with all aspects of the programme. A quick look round saw all audience members staring impressively at our four young men up on stage with other schools aware the bar had been raised even higher. The presentation was followed by a round of questioning from a panel of high profile judges who probed deep into what they had learnt from the programme and why they should be chosen. In turn each of our boys offered well structured, emotive answers that left the judges reeling in awe of how humble and impressive these young men were.
They were in with a chance
Two schools followed who both put forward their learning journeys and their case for why they should be chosen as the winners for this year. As they were all girl schools their enterprise ideas were slightly different to the boys - both schools ended up selling confectionary and stationary items to their peers. I thought it was extremely impressive that they had arranged meetings with managers at local supermarkets to see if they would donate some items to their cause. This was seconded by the Dragons who commended them on their efforts after their presentations.
The Dragons left the room to deliberate
The 20 minutes that followed were tense to say the least. All schools put in stellar performances, each with distinctive aspects that could be deemed worthy of collecting the gold.
Enter the Dragons.
Nothing about their body language alluded to who may be the winner.
“Without further ado, the winner……of the 2015 RISE Enterprise Challenge……….. is………..Harris Boys’ Academy East Dulwich!!!”
The room erupted in a symphony of cheers and applause. Looking round at our boys they seemed shell-shocked but had the unmistakable smile of true winners as they rose from their chairs and strode towards the front glowing with pride.
Integrity and modesty
A special mention goes to Jeremiah Puthy-Manzey who won the ‘Dragons’ Award’, a prize presented to the participant who showed integrity and modesty throughout their presentation as well as a determination to bring about change as a global citizen. I’ve taught Jeremiah Science this year and couldn’t be happier for such a charming, intelligent and thoughtful young man. It’s a testament to his character that the judges picked up on these characteristics in the few minutes that he spoke for. He also capped it off with the quote of the day “I feel like I’ve won the Champions League final!”
Not only did our boys win all awards on offer, they did so with deference and were truly thankful and complimentary of the charity and competing teams respectfully. As their teacher I’m extremely proud and humbled by the individual charisma and resilience they have shown throughout the course of this year, both inside and outside the classroom. As Rayyan put it, most teenagers are tagged with the perception that they’re lazy and apathetic. Our boys have well and truly annihilated this perception and shown themselves to be role models and leaders for their peers.
All members who have taken part this year have done themselves proud and have developed organically into leaders in their own right. They have extremely bright futures ahead of them, a point seconded by all the judges and founder of the charity, and I feel honoured to have taken them through this process.
I wish them luck with future endeavours however I doubt they’ll need it.