by Lisa Tome
Being an inventor can be a challenge, especially when your sibling doesn't contract a case of diaper rash.
That's what happened to Mommy's Potion creator Brianna Biggers who invented a sprayable diaper rash cure just after her toddler sibling got over his case of the irritation. Biggers was one of the 14 students at Cherry Hill Middle School who joined the school's Shark Tank Club.
Last week marked the culminating event for the club which began meeting in November. The club, for which teacher Nicole Stauffer serves as advisor, is a take off from the TV series where entrepreneur contestants present ideas and products to the "Sharks", investors who may buy in.
Nicole Stauffer explained that she took on the role of club advisor to teach the middle schoolers the difference between innovation and invention. She taught various lessons about business people at the club's once a week meetings.
The sharks at Cherry Hill included Thomas Stauffer, owner of Tom's Refurb, a small engine repair business, Jonathan Stauffer and Bev Miller, both engineers at W. L. Gore, Wayne Morton a mechanical engineer at Accudyne, Cole Galloway a professor from University of Delaware, and Jessica Thomas an engineer from Terumo.
Morton explained why he signed on for Shark Tank. "It's important to help the next generation. As an engineer that means the better engineers we'll have in the future," said Morton.
Biggers presented Mommy's Potion.
Mommy's Potion is an organic product made from cocoa butter, coconut oil and water and placed in a spray bottle. Biggers said any profits she earned will go back into the business and would also go to a children's hospital as a donation. "I couldn't test it because my brother didn't get diaper rash," Biggers said. Matthew Upton invented a bungee cord which could hold many items. He tried various prototypes and admitted his cords are a work in progress.
Hannah Mears and Cora Doney started a company with Endless Pawsibilities - selling items that would benefit pet causes. Their hand made items included bath salts and mug blankets.
Nate Wooster and Tanner Uhde invented prototypes for pet toys. One of their ideas is a rope which converts to a Frisbee. They also wanted to donate to the ASPCA with any of their profits.
Anthony Eskaros created a safe texting program. Brandon Goldberg's invention was Tempware.
Matthew DeStefano, John Sprouse, and Evan Michalak created Scencills. Michalak explained why his group created the "sensory pencils". "It helps you stay focused if you have ADHD," said Michalak. "Not all prototypes and ideas will work."
Sydney Williams created Heel Pillows. Other presenters included Nicholas Truehart and Aidan Carrigan.
Williams earned top honors. Eskaros placed second. Biggers was third. Goldberg earned fourth place. Doney and Mears collected fifth place. Winners received subscriptions to an inventor's magazine.
Parent Thadd Upton was a spectator. He videotaped his son's entire presentation. "I'm proud he's [participating in this. His (Matthew Upton's) mind is always going and he wants to do something," said Thadd Upton.
Biggers not only created an invention, she also is responsible for the club's inception. She said that one day during class, they were talking about Shark Tank.
Her interest in the subject pushed Biggers to ask Language Arts teacher Nicole Stauffer to serve as the club's advisor after getting permission from the school principal. "I learned that a lot of my friends have ideas that no one ever talks about. Then those ideas get taken by people with a higher education," said Biggers. Stauffer said Cherry Hill Middle may not have seen the last of Shark Tank. She said if there is interest, Shark Tank may return to the school.