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The student news site of Centennial High School - Frisco, Texas

Cen10 News

The student news site of Centennial High School - Frisco, Texas

Cen10 News

Centennial High School’s INCubator Program Empowers Students to Create ‘My Courseway’ – A Game-Changing Education Resource

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Megan Patel
“My Courseway” Team: Casie Plat, Megan Patel, Akshaya Athila, & Esha Bandi

Many students come across “Entrepreneurship” in the FISD course catalog, but what exactly does this class involve? Well, Centennial High School’s entrepreneurship class is actually a program called Incubator, it’s offered at five Frisco schools. Incubator EDU, an organization based in Chicago, partners with these schools to provide a hands-on entrepreneurship curriculum, empowering students to create their own businesses.

 

 In the introductory INCubator class, students learn how to start a business and get the opportunity to physically start their own business from the initial process of ideation to the final step of financing and marketing. As the curriculum progresses over the year, mentors and business professionals visit the classroom, offering their expertise and insights.

 

The best INCubator experience arrives at the end of the year, when students pitch their business ideas to a board of investors mirroring the popular TV show “Shark Tank ”. This exciting event challenges students to apply their knowledge and skills in a real-world setting. All five Frisco schools come together at the end of the year and pitch their ideas to judges and the judges decide which team deserves the money for their project. The group that has the winning project goes into the Incubator accelerator program the following year. 

 

In the INCubator class, students develop an entrepreneurial mindset that’s incredibly valuable. This program allows students to think creatively, taking on challenges, and learning how to adapt to different situations. These skills go beyond just starting a business; they’re life skills that will serve students well in any career path. 

 

Megan Patel, Chief Operating Officer of “My Courseway,” a student-founded business, emphasizes the importance of communication: “We’re always working in a group every day, sitting with the same people. And in order to run a company, you need to get along with those people.”

 

While other schools offer entrepreneurship courses, Centennial High School stands out with its INCubator program. Students like Esha Bandi (Chief Executive Officer of “My Courseway”), Megan Patel (Chief Operating Officer of “My Courseway”), Akshaya Athila (Chief Technical Officer of “My Courseway”), and Casie Plat (Chief Financial Officer of “My Courseway”) initially joined thinking it was a regular class, only to discover it was something much more unique.

Akshaya Athila (Chief Technical Officer of “My Courseway”) recalls their initial surprise: “We were really confused when we first walked in. All they told us was that we’d be creating a company from scratch, and if we couldn’t do that, we should leave.”

“We’re interested in business but we had no idea that this was something that was available to us. This is what led us to My Courseway. If we had these kinds of opportunities for every major in this district and a lot of districts have that, it’s just not showcased enough.said Esha Bandi (Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of “My Courseway”) 

 

The result of joining the class and being a part of the INCubator program was the creation of “My Courseway”, but Esha Bandi also had other reasons for creating “My Courseway.”

 

“I was having a hard time picking classes using the course catalog the school district had, and I saw there was an opportunity to make the class selection process easier.” (Esha Bandi)  

 

That was the start of “My Courseway” and the development of the website began.

 

“Finding website developers was quite a struggle, it took maybe 3-4 months, and we came across a group that was helpful and beneficial to the journey.” (Esha Bandi) 

 

The website focused on one goal; simplifying the course catalog.

 

“The website compiles classes students want to see, endorsements, GPA requirements, which colleges will accept their AP test scores, organizing favorite classes, and finding counselors to contact,” adding “It’s easier than going through a long course catalog to find what you’re looking for.” (Megan Patel) 

 

With the website created, the team still needed to pitch their idea to investors to get the project the funding it needed. That’s when advisors like Tommy Thompson and Gary Gerlacher came in to help.

 

“When we got the opportunity with Dr. Gerlacher we knew it was a good opportunity.” (Akshaya Athila)

 

Dr. Gerlacher, an expert in the entrepreneurship industry, helped Bandi, Patel, Athila, and Plat turn their “My Courseway” idea into a real business, helping them jump through the hurdles to starting a business. Mr. Thompson was another person who helped the team along the way.

 

“Mr. Thompson was one of the biggest people that helped us. He’s been great with getting us contacts and getting us to pitch competitions. School administrators have also been really helpful with supporting us and helping us develop My Courseway.” (Esha Bandi) 

 

The pitch competitions provided the team with the platform they needed to pitch their website to potential investors.

 

They participated in INCubator District Pitch 2022, a Shark Tank style pitch competition where students will be given a limited amount of time to pitch their idea in front of a panel of investors, securing 2nd place and winning $1,000 in seed money.

 

The My Courseway team was able to make it as finalists in the A&M High School Ideas Challenge. The challenge is hosted by Texas A&M’s McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship, and teams or individuals submit their ideas which go through a selection process. The finalists selected are invited to the Texas A&M campus to pitch their ideas at the Final Pitch Event.

 

They also won 1st place in the Uncharted Learning Dallas Mavericks Pitch Competition. An event hosted by INCubatoredu, a program created by Uncharted Learning, a company that creates curriculum focused on entrepreneurship.

 

Bandi and her team have also been pitching “My Courseway” to school districts hoping they will implement it in their school districts.

 

“We’re in beta testing right now with Frisco, we’re working with FISD, and we just had a meeting with Rockwall ISD recently,” adding “We’re trying to spread the word about “My Courseway,” and we will have a follow up meeting with them [Rockwall ISD] in a few weeks.”

 

The team has also pitched their idea to former Frisco Superintendent Dr. Rick Reedy and current Superintendent Dr. Mike Waldrip.

 

If you’d like to support My Courseway and its mission to simplify school course catalogs, then check out their website here!

 

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About the Contributors
Sana Hajidamji
Sana Hajidamji, Editor-In-Chief
Hi, my name is Sana Hajidamji, I am currently a senior at Centennial High School. I am from Los Angeles, California and I moved to Texas in 2020. I have a podcast called the Positive Perspective Podcast and newspaper is a passion of mine. I hope to pursue creative writing in the future!
Darren Hu
Darren Hu, Reporter
Hello! I'm Darren, a current junior this year, and it's my first year with the Titan Times. In my free time, I enjoy reading, writing, drawing, and listening to music. You can find me around the school involved in Orchestra, DECA, NHS, French Club, and BPA.