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  • Writer's pictureRoger Sims, Journal Staff

Students compete in youth entrepreneur challenge

Dayson Eastwood, a junior at Jayhawk-Linn High School, won the Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge sponsored by the Linn County Economic Development Committee and Network Kansas on Tuesday, March 5. He won the first prize of $1,000, and he will also be eligible to take a trip to Manhattan to compete in the statewide competition and more money. (Photos by Roger Sims/Linn County Journal except where noted)


MOUND CITY – Twelve high school students representing all three Linn County school districts competed in the Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge on Tuesday, March 5, at the Linn County Fairgrounds in Mound City. The contest was sponsored by the county’s Economic Development Committee and Network Kansas, and a junior from Jayhawk-Linn High School won the top prize of $1,000.


This is the first year that all three high schools – Pleasanton, Prairie View and Pleasanton – were represented at the contest, said Jessica Hightower, the county’s economic development director. Last year’s competition featured only Pleasanton High School entrepreneurs.


Linn County Economic Development Committee members, including Elaine Jaeger with Janet Miller from Network Kansas, far left, and committee members, from far right, Shaun West, Janell Aust, Jennifer Leach-Harlow, and Josh Baldwin listened to presentations and judged the entries. (Photo by Destiny Fletcher)


Members of the economic development committee spent the morning in the 4-H Building looking at display boards and hearing pitches for the students’ business ideas before sequestering in the building’s kitchen to vote on their choices.


At stake was $2,500 in prize money and a trip to Manhattan to compete in the state challenge in April. The state contest also offers thousands of dollars in prize money, according Janet Miller, the southeast Kansas representative from Network Kansas. She was on hand for the Linn County event.


The first place prize of $1,000 and the trip to Manhattan went to JLHS student Dayton Eastwood and his DNA Weightlifting gym. The Jayhawk junior developed a plan to open a round-the-clock weight room where members could use a computer program to set their workout goals. The computer would then provide a detailed exercise plan for both weightlifting and aerobic exercises.


Second place went to the group of four Prairie View students from the Buff Tuff Shirts shop. The prize for second was $500. The students are, from left, Adyson Rhynerson, Grace Naylor, Elijah Williams and Kimball Uphoff.


Third place went to Pleasanton’s Stacey Acbay with her line of Shineeee handmade jewelry that features tropical designs inspired by The Phillipines. Her take home for third place was $250.


The other contestants were awarded $150 each. They included, in alphabetical order:


Knick-Knack Timbers owner Lincoln Baldwin, a PHS sophomore, manufactures items in his home-based shop using his woodworking skills to do something that he enjoys.


Kyle Cowen, a PHS freshman whose Stellar Stoves company specializes in Rocket Stoves, a square-tube device he welds in his shop for quick heating with sticks. (Photo by Destiny Fletcher)


Aiden Patrick, a PHS freshman, sells designer keychains under the Keyed Up brand name.


Aurora Smith-Osborne, a PHS freshman, is owner of Pop Ponytails, a business that specializes in scrunchies she makes in her sewing shop at home.


Jewelry maker Adria Sullins is a PHS freshman who put her crotchet skills and love of making jewelry to work in her business, Lotus & Twine.



Katrina Taylor, a PHS student, specializes in handmade clothing items from floral prints – like the top she is wearing – under her FloraRise brand. She creates her clothing line in her home-based sewing shop.


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