Innovative Thinking Puts Kids to the Test

Posted: Oct. 15, 2009

By Jill Northey

Cold Lake High School students proved how creative they are when they developed a new winter sport with the help of several innovation experts on Oct. 7 and 8. The Osum Science of Innovation and Sport Challenge had entrepreneur Scott Underwood and writer Lawrence Shubert along with two-time Olympic gold medalist Catriona Le May Doan in town to help grade 9 to 12 students discover their ability to use innovative thinking.

Every student at CLHS had the chance to hear all about Doan’s experiences, challenges and successes.

Catriona Le May Doan signs autographs for students at Cold Lake High School on Oct. 7. The two-time Olympic gold medalist in speed skating was at the school to talk to students as part of a science innovation seminar sponsored by Osum.

She told them that “it’s not about the race that you win, but the process of getting to a certain point, just like any type of new invention.”

“They may not know right then and there how I impacted them,” she said. “But I hope it does one day”.

She hopes they realize there will be challenges and set-backs as they go through life, just like she had after falling during her race in the 1994 Winter Olympics.

“Getting back up and continuing to push for your goal is what matters,” she told the students.

The students had workshops with Scott Underwood, writer, editor and innovation guide and Lawrence Shubert, entrepreneur and founder of ZIP Innovations. They talked about the process of taking ideas and putting them to good use. Shubert spoke of the different companies such as Apple, Pepsi and BMW that he’s worked as an innovation team member.

Nearly one-hundred grade 11 and 12 science students were then faced with a challenge to come up with a new winter sport.

In small groups they went through the process of developing it, then pitched it to a panel, which in turn gave their opinions and questioned their new sport.

“This is not only a chance for students to think outside of the box,” biology teacher Jennifer Dusyk-Johnson said, “but also to act outside of it.”

Dusyk-Johnson said the science workshops allowed some of the students to come out of their shell and see where their creativity and innovation could take them.

“I learned how to be more creative,” Grade 12 student, Jenna Urlacher said. “Ideas can go so far, and you can incorporate so many different ones.” Underwood was very impressed with the students and said it is very gratifying to see these students stepping up to a challenge.

“I think, maybe sometimes, they try to prototype something, design something,” Underwood said. “But we gave them a chance to actually follow through with their ideas.”

Underwood said it was nice to have students come up and ask him hard questions, knowing they were challenging themselves. Many of the students continued to show their enthusiasm asking the innovators about career advice.

It looks like a spark has been lit.

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