At the NFTE National Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge on October 16, 2019, two Holy Trinity B-STEM scholars battled their way through three rounds of pitches to the winner’s platform in front of a cheering crowd at TheTimesCenter in New York City. Congratulations to first-place winner Aaron Trinidad ’20, who took home $17,000 in prize money and runner-up Gabriel Sheikh ’20, who won $9,000. The funds may be used as seed capital to grow a business or pursue educational goals.

Last school year, nearly 20,000 students across the United States pitched their business plans in NFTE classrooms. At the national competition, Aaron and Gabriel were amongst the nation’s best 37 students presenting 28 different business plans in New York City. This is the first time Holy Trinity students have made it to the national final round. This is an incredible feat for Holy Trinity to have not one but two students as finalists.

Gabriel’s business concept is for Presistant, a sophisticated self-improvement app for those looking to enhance their presentation skills. By using a mobile phone’s existing features and the app’s software, anyone can measure their skills and improve as a presenter. Gabriel took first place in the Chicago Metro Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge on May 21, 2019, securing his spot in the national competition.

Aaron is the creator of Lender, an app that pairs non-profit organizations with volunteers. Combining a fun, swipe-based interface with volunteering, the app easily pairs volunteers with non-profits based on interests. Aaron took second place at the Chicago Metro challenge.

These students began their journey to Nationals during the 2018-2019 school year, when they first presented their business plans and pitches in the NFTE/Corporate Experience class, taught by Angela Miceli. After competing against their classmates and then students from across the Chicago metro area in regionals, they advanced to the national quarterfinals and semifinals where they once again presented their businesses to judging panels.

Beyond the competition, participating in this process has also helped prepare both Gabriel and Aaron for their future college and career experiences. This past summer, Gabriel was one of five Holy Trinity students awarded a paid internship through Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine’s GoKidney SciHigh program. Through Holy Trinity’s Friends for a Future program, Aaron interviewed for and was awarded a paid internship at Ryan Specialty Group.

This is the seventh year Holy Trinity has taught the NFTE curriculum and competed in the competition, and Aaron and Gabriel are the 3rd and 4th Tigers in our school history to go to nationals. 2019 represents the third consecutive year Tigers have made it to nationals and the first time HT swept regionals.

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