Saint Mary's School News

Class of 2021 celebrates successful District C Pitch Night

As part of the Seminar Program at Saint Mary’s School, juniors have spent this quarter working with community partner District C to solve real-world problems for local businesses. It was an exciting and innovative evening at Saint Mary’s, Feb. 25, as the results of that work were presented on Pitch Night, when the students, working in squads, pitched their ideas to company representatives.

Pitch Night opened with a reception in Smedes-Emory Parlor where Juliana Kuhno ’20 offered remarks about her District C experience as a junior. Alison Chernin, 11th grade seminar lead faculty member, welcomed everyone to the event. Dan Gonzales, co-founder of District C, gave some inspirational remarks to kick off the evening and send everyone on their way to the pitches.

“For the last two months, juniors have worked collaboratively in squads of three to four girls to tackle complex business problems,” said Heather Ramee, 11th grade seminar lead faculty member. Pitch Night is the culmination of all this incredible work by the Class of 2021. The students have pushed themselves to think outside the box as they tackle complex, real-world problems.”

Community partners for this Seminar included: Carroll’s Kitchen, Counterculture Coffee, The Flourish Market, Larry’s Coffee, Live It Up Hillsborough Street, supported by Red Hat, and Raleigh Provisions.

Our community partner District C is dedicated to partnering with forward-thinking high schools from across the region to offer innovative real-world learning experiences designed to teach high school how to work together to solve real problems. District C has set a goal of giving every Triangle area high school student a real-work learning experience by 2025. Saint Mary’s was the first area high school to bring this program to its students.

The Challenges

Carroll’s Kitchen: A restaurant with a social mission seeks to increase financial sustainability for its business model.

Counterculture Coffee: An organic coffee roaster looking for a way to increase sustainability in regards to their packaging.

Girls Geared for Greatness: A non-profit working to empower girls in looking for ways to expand its reach and impact.

The Flourish Market: A local boutique with a social mission is looking to expand its profile in their new location in Raleigh’s Warehouse District.

Larry’s Coffee: A coffee roaster and supplier is looking for strategies to help communicate their B-corp status to the community.

Live It Up Hillsborough Street: A non-profit municipal district seeks to gain traction in the wider Raleigh community. An open source site is seeking ways to efficiently utilize its staff time to reach a wider audience.

Raleigh Provisions: A food and gift shop with a focus on local products looks to improve potential customer knowledge of its value.

The business representatives engaged in compelling question and answer sessions with the students following each pitch and were busy taking notes with the students’ ideas and asking for their PowerPoint presentations. The second annual Pitch Night was a resounding success!