Weald of Kent pupils prove they mean business

Dr Bob Bowes

A GROUP of Tonbridge schoolgirls will have their ideas used in a national marketing campaign after beating hundreds of other entries in a school business competition.

The team of five Year Ten students from Weald of Kent Grammar School beat more than 400 other pitches from over 200 schools to be crowned the South East Champions of the Real Business Challenge.

Bethany Brennan, Ellen Capon, Ella Johnson, Phoebe Lloyd and Poppy McCarthy, all aged 14-15, made up the victorious ‘Team Esteem’.

They were given the brief of planning a campaign to raise funds and awareness for the Special Olympics Games, taking place in Sheffield this August.

It is the country’s largest multi-sports event for athletes with intellectual disabilities. This year, around 2,600 athletes are expected to compete across 19 sports.

The girls pitched their ideas against ten other finalists at the Brighton Amex Stadium, home to the city’s football team, on January 24.

Their ideas for raising the profile of the Games included a colour run, in which competitors run while being covered in powdered paint, a formal charity dinner, and a flash-mob.

They also designed a billboard, which will now be used nationally to advertise the Games.

Poppy McCarthy said: “When they announced we were the winners, we all looked at each other in amazement,” adding that one of their teachers even got ‘a little emotional’.

The school received £1,000 for their win, but the girls get a say over how it is used.

“We are writing a proposal to make sure we are spending the money on something that will really reward students so we are thinking of something memorable and fun, like a going for a meal or watching a musical in London,” said Ellen Capon.

Mr Chidlow, one of their Business Studies teachers said: “This is the first time that the school has entered the Real Business Challenge and to win at the first attempt, from what was originally a field of over 200 schools in the South East region, is an amazing achievement by these girls.”

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