Claymont Junior Achievment students make a splash in the Shark Tub business competition

Claymont Junior Achievment students make a splash in the Shark Tub business competition

The team was featured on WJER to talk about their year with their Junior Achievement project.


Age Well, a Junior Achievement business from Claymont High School, took home the top award in the second annual Shark Tub business competition hosted by the Tuscarawas County Economic Development Corporation.

In addition to winning a rotating trophy, the business also received a $5,000 prize in a competition among businesses from a multicounty area that are less than 5 years old.

The competition, which lasted about two hours at Buckeye Career Center on April 23, drew 12 contenders. Businesses pitched their ideas trade-show style to about 100 attendees who stopped at their display tables.

Family and members of the general public could pay $5 for $500 in play money to be used for “investing” in as few or as many businesses as they liked. At the end of the first hour, the prop money was collected and counted to determine the top two investment getters.

“The planning team then picked a third business that didn’t get as much money but that we thought had a lot of potential,” said John Kelly, director of business development for TCEDC.

The three businesses then had five minutes to give their winning pitch to a five-member judging panel.

Meet the Age Well team

The team from Claymont is the only Junior Achievement team in Tuscarawas County, according to Andrew Zimmerman, the team’s coach. The students involved spend an hour each school day brainstorming a business product or service, naming and operating the business, and searching for investors by pitching in competitions or at local expos.

The four students who make up Age Well are Ellie Baker, chief executive officer; Cambria Edwards, chief operating officer; Peyton Halsey, chief financial officer; and Zane Kuczirka, chief marketing officer.

“The best ideas come when you’re not trying,” Baker said. “We were just talking about our families one day and the issues our family members were facing.”

Edwards said she could see a decline in her grandparents’ health. “We decided we wanted to make something that would improve their quality of life,” she said.

That idea resulted in Age Well, a wellness company with a stated mission of improving the quality of life for people over the age of 50 in the five key areas of physical, nutritional, social/emotional, mental and financial health.

The product they created is a $35 wellness kit containing a 145-page curriculum booklet filled with ideas for staying healthy such as exercises, recipes, journaling, memory games and financial resources. Also in the kit are an exercise band, a deck of 25 social challenge cards, a magnifying card, a digital timer and even a battery for the timer.

The kit’s contents were determined after the students interviewed a 70-year-old retired attorney who advised the team throughout the school year. Age Well then assembled a group of professionals to help them understand their target demographic and identify the struggles they may face in each of the five key areas.

To promote the product, Kuczirka said they chose to use Facebook. “That’s where you find our target demographic as opposed to other forms of social media like Instagram, TikTok or Snapchat.”

“The booklet in the kit is designed to be 50 and older-friendly, but anyone can use it,” Baker said.

Zimmerman agreed. “Whoever you are, you can use the kit to be proactive instead of reactionary.”

Competing in Junior Achievement

Earlier in April the Age Well team participated in the Junior Achievement of North Central Ohio’s Entrepreneurship Challenge and Expo, competing against JA teams from 16 counties.

Age Well placed sixth out of 18 teams, disappointing team members a bit until being reminded they were the most inexperienced team in their first competition.

“JA of North Central Ohio is tough,” Zimmerman said. “They have won nationals three of the last five years and many more behind that. So to get sixth out of, call it a top 10 in America, is pretty impressive.”

Zimmerman said after the competition a number of judges, spectators, other coaches and even other students went out of their way to praise the Age Well team on their performance.

When asked what they felt they were getting out of the JA program, students’ replies varied. “I was pretty shy to begin with, but now it’s a lot easier to speak in front of a group,” Edwards said.

Halsey also said the biggest thing he’s gotten out of JA is improved public speaking and confidence.

Kuczirka said he is typically more of a follower than a leader. “But since being in a JA program, I’ve been able to speak for myself and put my own thoughts out to a group of my peers who I trust.”

Baker said while she is highly driven and self-motivated, she had to realize not everyone is. “We’re all very different, and as the CEO, I had to learn how they worked and not just expect everything to be the way I want it all the time. I shouldn’t put the same expectations on them that I put on myself.”

Zimmerman said he also had a lesson to learn. “We all had to learn how to take no for an answer and keep coming back.”

A growing JA program at Claymont

Beginning with the next school year, Claymont schools will offer Junior Achievement classes from kindergarten all the way through high school.

“We want to introduce entrepreneurial thinking and financial literacy at an early age,” Zimmerman said. “And once they take any JA program, students are eligible for scholarships when they are seniors, and Ellie got one this year.”

Zimmerman said students who participate will learn all the ins and outs of starting and running a business.

JA students also will learn everything from marketing and logistics to how Social Security and Medicare work.

Age Well has been quite a successful startup. “We started Feb. 1, and we’ve sold about 150 kits,” Halsey said. “Our total revenue was around $4,590, and our profit so far is $1,174.”

The team expressed gratitude to its local business sponsors First Federal Community Bank, Tusco Manufacturing, MaPP Investment Services and Ember Complete Care.

Age Well wellness kits can be purchased online at More information about the student-run company can be found on Facebook and Instagram@agewell_ja.

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