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Birmingham City students honored for outstanding business ideas

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From left: Dr. Stephanie Yates of UAB; Lauryn Green of W.J. Christian; Nyla Boler of Phillips Acadmy; Shelbe Arrington of Phillips Academy; Tyler Collins of Huffman Middle School; Zhaundra Jones of Operation HOPE; Tamauri Murray of Wilkerson Middle School and Superintendent Dr. Kelley Castlin-Gauctan. (Chanda Temple, Birmingham City Schools)

By Chanda Temple

Birmingham City Schools

From left: Dr. Stephanie Yates of UAB; Lauryn Green of W.J. Christian; Nyla Boler of Phillips Acadmy; Shelbe Arrington of Phillips Academy; Tyler Collins of Huffman Middle School; Zhaundra Jones of Operation HOPE; Tamauri Murray of Wilkerson Middle School and Superintendent Dr. Kelley Castlin-Gauctan. (Chanda Temple, Birmingham City Schools)
From left: Dr. Stephanie Yates of UAB; Lauryn Green of W.J. Christian; Nyla Boler of Phillips Acadmy; Shelbe Arrington of Phillips Academy; Tyler Collins of Huffman Middle School; Zhaundra Jones of Operation HOPE; Tamauri Murray of Wilkerson Middle School and Superintendent Dr. Kelley Castlin-Gauctan. (Chanda Temple, Birmingham City Schools)

UAB and Operation HOPE Inc. recently honored five GEAR Up students from Birmingham City Schools for their outstanding business ideas.

The students participated in a summer money math camp at UAB, where camp officials asked the students to present pitches for businesses they run or want to run.

Thirty-seven GEAR Up students entered the competition. After hearing all of the pitches, judges selected the top five winners. They are: Lauryn Green of W.J. Christian for her tutoring business; Nyla Boler of John Herbert Phillips Academy for her baking business; Shelbe Arrington of Phillips Academy for her skincare line; Tyler Collins of Huffman Middle for his candy business; and Tamauri Murray of Wilkerson Middle School for his printing business.

Now, these students will not only be paired with businesses in the area to learn more about running a business, but they will also be paired with UAB business students for mentoring between now and until they graduate from high school, said Dr. Stephanie Yates, the director of Regions Institute for Financial Education at UAB.

Operation HOPE Inc. will give the students 10 weeks of training with a business role model. Once they complete the training, students must submit a business plan. Each student will receive up to a $500 start-up grant for their business.

“We were really impressed with the enthusiasm and engagement from Birmingham City Schools’ students,” said Zhaundra Jones, Birmingham program manager for Operation HOPE Inc.’s youth empowerment initiatives. “We are committed to empowering our youth, and we are always looking for volunteers to help us teach the language of money and entrepreneurship.”

The students were honored during the Aug. 9 Birmingham Board of Education meeting. Jones and Dr. Yates made the presentations.

“These five are the best and brightest pitches from our summer program,” Dr. Yates said.