Home » Enterprising Middle Schooler Behind Idea to Bring More Fresh Food to ACS Athens Meals

Enterprising Middle Schooler Behind Idea to Bring More Fresh Food to ACS Athens Meals

Mar 4, 2024 | News

Earlier this year, John Deere, the famous agricultural brand, dared technology influencer David Cogen to grow corn on a farm in Iowa to create awareness about where food comes from and the challenges associated with farming that many take for granted.

Nearly one year ago, sixth grader Gloria Kurantowicz submitted an idea for ACS Athens OPEN tapping into a similar insight when she realized that many of her classmates knew very little about where the food we eat comes from beyond the basic lessons learned in science class.

The youngest among the first cohort of ACS Athens OPEN participants, Gloria proposed that installing a hydroponic green wall on campus would engage students and invite them to learn more about how to sustainably grow edible plants, such as peppers, shrubs, kohlrabi, various kinds of salads, peas, beans, cucumbers, tomatoes, strawberries and more.

Once she was selected, she introduced the idea to the Gefsinus team that runs the school cafeteria and was pleased to hear that they saw value in the concept. It turns out that having fresh ingredients on-hand would not only enable them to provide students with more fresh options, but it would also reduce the amount of prepackaged food the team needs to unpack, inventory and sort each day, potentially creating more team efficiencies.

Learning throughout the process about how to fine-tune her concept to make it more feasible and sustainable, Gloria is now at the phase of the concept where she is planning on developing and testing the prototype, as well as identifying the corresponding resources and labor it will need to ensure that the test run is executed successfully.

Looking back at the year-long entrepreneurship journey through ACS Athens OPEN, Gloria shared three unexpected learnings from her experience, including:

  1. Innovation takes time. Most people think innovation is about coming up with a great idea, but taking this entrepreneurial journey taught her that the idea is just the beginning; it takes patience, curiosity and adaptability to see your idea through.
  2. Improving comfort with public speaking is a stealth benefit of the ACS Athens OPEN process. Since the entrepreneurial process requires ongoing pitching of your idea, Gloria found that she is much more confident speaking in front of groups, which is something that she was scared to do one year ago when she first submitted her idea.
  3. There are always new facets of ACS Athens Open to learn. Even though Gloria has been a student at ACS Athens since she and her family moved to Greece from the United Arab Emirates four years ago, she was surprised that navigating the ACS Athens OPEN process led her to learn more about the school and the resources available to students.

As ACS Athens OPEN kicks off for a second year, Gloria smiles and nods enthusiastically when asked what she would tell students considering submitting an idea.

“You should definitely consider doing it,” she beams. “Plan your proposal and even consider getting support from teachers. It’s a great process and you learn so much!”

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