Bowling Green High School DECA

BG DECA students’ runoff filtration idea cleans up at international conference

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Two DECA students from Bowling Green poured in on, and scored a second place finish at the International Career Development Conference in April with a pitch for a product to address Lake Erie’s algae problems. Sean O’Donnell and Jake Stucker, both Bowling Green High School juniors, placed second in the entrepreneurship idea contest at the DECA conference held in Atlanta with their idea for a filter that would address the runoff from farm fields that’s polluting Lake Erie. They were the top U.S. team with first place going to students from Ontario. And the pair says they’re not stopping there. “This is a huge market and could provide a future for us and families, and better future for people around the world,” O’Donnell said. They see the technology they are working on as being the foundation for a business. For that reason, they asked for a certain amount of discretion when describing the details of their idea. The have applied for provisional patents. Simply put, it is a filtration system that goes on the end of the piping from field tiles that removes the nitrates, phosphorus, and sediment that run into the Lake. That runoff messes with the lake’s ecosystem and can cause the kind of toxic algae growth that turned off the tap for much of the region during the Toledo water crisis in 2014. O’Donnell and Stucker have known each other since middle school. It was in seventh grade that they learned about the problem facing Lake Erie. But it was more recently when Stucker was having a conversation with a friend that the idea started to hatch. His friend, from Colorado, said she was headed west over winter break to go skiing. He lamented they had nothing so exciting here in Ohio. When she brought up Lake Erie, he said, it was too cold part of the year and toxic in the summer. This got him thinking about what could be done. This became the topic for his and O’Donnell’s DECA project. Trident Filters was born. Both are students in Penta Career Center’s satellite marketing program offered at Bowling Green High School. Their teacher Cara Maxey said the partners launched into the project with rare commitment.  “They worked extremely hard on their own networking,” she said. “They put in the extra time and effort outside the classroom that made the difference.” What they came up was “a real product,” with real world benefits. Usually students come up with “want-based products,” often related to fashion and cosmetics. The Trident Filter “is something the world needs,” Stucker said. “We were pretty stoked to do as well as we did,” O’Donnell said. “Right from the beginning, we wanted to take this as far as we could. We put in countless hours.” He stayed at Stucker’s house for 10 days before the district competition so they could work long into the night. And their classmates took note. Stucker said they even made t-shirts, hats, business cards, and pins. Both are competitive by nature. Stucker runs track and cross-country, and O’Donnell has played varsity soccer for three years and is a member of Columbus Crew Academy team. DECA provided an outlet for that competitive spirit, Stucker said. “You can just go hard into it.” Maxey had high expectations from the time she learned about the project. She would have disappointed if the project hadn’t placed at states. As it was this is the first time in her 14 years as a marketing teacher, in BG and in the Toledo Public Schools, that she had students place…


Zombies to stalk runners in obstacle course event

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   As if the muddy obstacle course isn’t hard enough, a bunch of moaning zombies will be on the prowl again for the second annual Zombie Mud Run. At the conclusion of last year’s event, participants had a suggestion – more zombies. So Ivan Kovacevic, recreation coordinator with the Bowling Green Parks and Recreation Department, hopes to double the number of zombies this year. Each contestant starts out the run with three flags on a flag football belt. The goal of the runners is to complete the one-mile course with at least one flag left to be deemed a “survivor.” The goal of the zombies is to rip off the flags, leaving the participant “infected.” Last year, about 150 people participated, with ages ranging from 5 to 74. Kovacevic is hoping for even more this year. The event is Oct. 22, with registration starting at 1 p.m., at the Bowling Green Community Center. Participants will be divided up with ages 5 to 12 and some parents in the first heat, followed by heats of ages 13 and older. Kovacevic, a fan of “The Walking Dead,” TV series, said the zombies add an extra thrill to the course. “Obstacles courses are becoming one of the fastest growing fitness trends,” he said. So why not throw in some zombies? “Get that adrenaline flowing right off the bat.” In addition to the zombie threat, there are also a lot of man-made and natural obstacles along the course located behind the community center. There’s a 5-foot climbing wall, balance beams, a bungee cord obstacle, tire pyramid, log hurdles, trenches full of water, an Army crawling obstacle, a tunnel, and plenty of mud. The “zombified” humans along the course are students from the Bowling Green High School DECA program. Last year there were 35 to 40 of them. But upon request, Kovacevic has boosted the blood thirsty predators. “We’re hoping to have about 80 zombies,” he said. “It’s really a cool collaboration,” Kovacevic said about working with the DECA students, who get some experience working with the business community for donations as well. “Instead of just working on theoretical projects, they get to see one put into action,” he said. A BGHS art class also created art for the Zombie Mud Run T-shirts, with the winning entry showing a green arm emerging from the mud and grabbing a runner’s leg. Though the zombies are intended to spook the runners, Kovacevic stressed that the course won’t be too scary for young ones. “We will have surprises along the way,” but nothing like chainsaws, he said. “It’s definitely family-friendly.” And the course itself, while muddy, has no features like barbed wire. “It’s a beginners’ level course, but the zombies add a challenge to it,” Kovacevic said. Participants may register up to the day of the event. The cost is $20 for ages 5 to 12, and $25 for 13 and older. More information may be obtained by calling Kovacevic at 419-354-6223.