Apr 29

More than 130 high school students, representing 54 schools in greater Cleveland, demonstrated their technology skills through the 2021 CoolTech Challenge which culminated in last week’s CoolTech Showcase.

RITE, the region’s IT workforce alliance and the technology talent arm of Greater Cleveland Partnership, organized the Showcase event, which featured 34 of the total 76 projects that students designed as a website, mobile app or concept as a part of the overall challenge. In developing their projects, they needed to solve a business or social problem. Teams of up to three students were judged on criteria, such as creativity, feasibility, technical appropriateness and teamwork. Fifty-four professionals from the IT community judged the projects online. During the showcase, students pitched their projects in 15 minutes or less.

“In light of everything going on, giving students hands-on opportunities with technology is especially critical,” said Sam Babic, Chief Innovation Officer of Hyland, and Chair of GCP RITE’s Regional Program Committee. “Not only are participants in GCP RITE programs sparked into thinking about IT as a career path, but these programs also align to our company’s internal efforts around diversity and inclusion.  When you add remote work, we face even greater competition for our home-grown tech talent. We must continue to offer and grow our programming and create access and opportunities for talent growth in our region.”

For the first time, teams of all girls swept the website category. The winners were:

In the website category:

  • First Place: The Helping Gardener – Beaumont School
  • Second Place: Bird Buddies – Solon High School
  • Third Place: Pay It Forward – North Royalton

    In the mobile app category:

  • First Place: Padua Bruins/Tudr – Padua Franciscan High School
  • Second Place: NORO Hackers – North Royalton
  • Third Place: TSM – Lake Shore Compact

    In the concept design category:

  • First Place: RealRoots – Theodore Roosevelt High School
  • Second Place: Mobile Motivation – Six District Educational Compact
  • Third Place: Foodi – “Solving Food Waste in the Modern Home” – Berea-Midpark High School

At the end of the showcase, Bill Blausey, senior vice president and recently retired CIO of Eaton Corporation, was honored with the newly named Bill Blausey People’s Choice Award. All students, teachers and judges voted for this distinction this year and four teams split the extra special recognition. Blausey is also the founding board chair of RITE and was recognized for his leadership to RITE since its inception in 2010.