Hey! If you’ve read my last post, ‘Lemental Creations: The Beginning, then you know that I recently took a trip up to Rochester, New York for the National Saunders Scholars Competition that is a part of the Young Entrepreneurs Academy. I thought I’d share about my trip, because I had an absolutely amazing time, despite it raining the whole time.
My mom and I left early Thursday morning. And I mean early. We left at around 5:30 for the four to five hour drive to Rochester. I slept for about three hours until we got to Perkins for breakfast. We stayed at the DoubleTree Hotel right outside of Rochester, which was extremely nice and had great staff. We arrived for check, got out badges, submitted my samples, I got my swag bag and they took my picture and interviewed me.
We had some time to kill until our first group activity, so my mom and I decided to go and explore Rochester, so we went and visited the Seneca Park Zoo in the rain, which wasn’t a very smart decision. But we still walked around, saw the Rhino, polar bear, lions, elephants, and an adorable baby orangutan playing peekaboo with a blanket.
After our shoes were thoroughly soaked, we went back to the hotel so we could dry off before we all went to Dave and Busters. As we arrived there, we were given a free card already preloaded with credits, and were treated to a buffet dinner of make your own nachos and mac and cheese.
The rest of the night was spent playing games at Dave and Busters, where I got beat at air hockey by an eleven year old three times. I also met some very nice people while I was there, an eleven year old chef who makes chef knives for kids, and a set of twins who make coconut oil toothpaste.
The next morning, after checking in, going over the rules and getting a pep talk from YEA! CEO Gayle Jagle and a former YEA! student, we boarded the buses and departed for Rochester Institute of Technology.
They split us up based off of our region of the country, northwest, southwest, northeast, and southeast. The western regions presented in the morning, then the eastern regions in the afternoon. I watched the northwest, and was very impressed with some of the ideas. The judges were great and asked very smart questions.
We went to lunch across campus, (walking there in the rain was awful, my shoes were soaked again), and we got some cold sandwiches from the campus cafe (they weren’t good). While we were there, we met a program manager and instructor who we ate lunch with, and they were some very nice and funny people. After we finished eating, I got to go and personally talk with Gayle Jagle and Philip Saunders, who this whole competition was named after, who started Travel Centers of America.
We went back to the stage early and I got to talk with the other students there, and most of them were really supportive. My region started at two and I luckily got to present first. And unlike the northwest section, my judges were awful. We were allowed only two questions and the judges asked me the exact same questions. As the rest of the kids got crappy questions too and we all were pretty screwed over.
After all the presentations, we went to dinner with yet another buffet, and the dining room was honestly pretty cramped. They announced award winners for various items, and then announced the finalist and semi finalists, both of which presented again, and then the overall winner, 2nd and 3rd place and the People’s Choice Winner.
After the winners were announced, we went to go pick up our samples before we went back to the hotels. It was really nice to see all the other kids telling each other what a great job they did even thought they didn’t win. As I picked up my samples, I had so many people telling me how good my soaps smelled, and people even asking to take them. Before we left, I met a girl from California who had a similar idea to me and we exchanged information.
By the time we got to the hotel, I was so tired that I just crashed and didn’t go to the pool party that they had for all of the students. I didn’t go down for breakfast they next morning because I slept in, but my mom did and after what I heard I was honestly glad I didn’t go. She told me all of the parents and instructors and program managers were talking about the kids and were saying absolutely awful things. These were forty year old people insulting kids and their ideas, saying how dumb they were. After that, my mom and I decided we really shouldn’t stay any longer and that we should just leave.
We passed by Corning on the way home, so we decided to detour and visit the Corning Museum of Glass. We were there for about four minutes when they had a fire drill. So we had to walk out in the rain and wait in our car for about half an hour until they allowed us back in. But after that we went through the museum which was absolutely amazing. We’re planning to go back someday when we have more time.
So there’s the story of my trip to Rochester, and if you have any questions, leave them in the comments. See ya!