'Young CEOs' present to zoo officials

'Young CEOs' present to zoo officials

December 17, 2012 - Fourteen members of the Class of 2021 made an impressive presentation to Honolulu Zoo officials on Monday.

The fourth graders, who are all enrolled in a new project-based class called "Young CEO (Children Embracing Ownership)," tackled the issue of how to increase mainland visitor traffic at the zoo.

Accompanied by their teachers Mrs. Debra Yoshino and Ms. Allison Ishii, the students gave their presentation at the Honolulu Zoo's Hale ‘Imi ‘Ike Room (House for Seeking Knowledge).

The "Young CEO" class is being held in partnership with the Enterprise Services Department for the City & County of Honolulu.

“I don’t believe a project of this nature has ever been done with such young students,” said Mr. Randy Leong, Deputy Director of Enterprise Services.

After four rounds of interviews with tourists, two months of field work at  the zoo and more than 200 market surveys, the young entrepreneurs prototyped, tested and refined their idea of a building a zip line that would make entering the zoo novel and fun.

Following their presentation, the 'Iolani students fielded a series of questions from the audience.

Honolulu City Councilman Mr. Stanley Chang was among the onlookers and presented each fourth grader and their teachers with a lei.

'Iolani Head of School Dr. Timothy Cottrell, Lower School Dean Mr. Gerald Teramae and Dean of Instruction Dr. Carey Inouye also were in attendance.

The "Young CEO" class was based on a business enterprise through an experiential learning model. Design Thinking is incorporated into the business development life cycle to create human-centered solutions to real-world problems.

“This is completely the students’ work,” Mrs. Yoshino said. “We had no idea what the students would come up with when we started the project.”

Ms. Ishii added: “What’s so awesome is that the students' concept dovetails with the recent announcement of the Las Vegas zip line and the increased popularity of Maui company, Skyline Eco Adventures.  These events confirm that the Young CEOs are onto something big!”


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