Guppy Tank

Watermill Express Names Winners of Fourth Annual Guppy Tank Contest; Makes $2,500 Donation to Make-A-Wish Foundation Rio Grande Valley

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2019 Guppy Tank Winners

MCALLEN, Texas – Winners have been named in the fourth annual Guppy Tank Contest, a competition where students from the Rio Grande Valley present their entrepreneurial ideas to a panel of expert judges. In addition to helping finalists fund their business ideas with cash prizes, Watermill Express donated $2500 to Make-A-Wish Foundation Rio Grande Valley.

This year’s contest challenged students to develop an idea that addresses plastic pollution. The competition expanded to include two brackets this year: Bracket #1 for 4th-8th grade students, and bracket #2 for 9th-12th grade students.

In bracket #1, the top award went to Karina Torres, Jasmine Hernandez, and Lynette Pina for “The Plastic Annihilator” concept. Second place went to Larissa Rodriguez for her “The Recycle Rewarder” concept, and third place went to Gabriela Galindo for “Save Our Seas Eco Bags”.

In bracket #2, Gisell Bustos and Cynthia Barrera grabbed the top spot for their “Elemist” concept. Second place went Joaquin Galindo for his “ecoDrone Systems” concept, and Faith Cruz was awarded third place for her “Eliminate Your Water Bottle” concept.

Winners in each bracket were awarded $300 for 1st place, $200 for 2nd, and $100 for 3rd.

The panel of judges included Lani Dolifka, President/Co-CEO of Watermill Express; Oscar Adame, News Anchor at KRGV 5; Ava Sandlin, Executive Director at Make-A-Wish Foundation Rio Grande Valley; Eloy Cuevas, Marketing Manager at Watermill Express; and Kim Moore, President of CAPMOR.

“This year’s participants were enthusiastic and presented amazing ideas to help reduce the amount of plastic pollution in our world,” said Dolifka. “Plastic does not biodegrade; it breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces which causes problems for humans, wildlife, groundwater, the environment, and even affects our food chain.”

Parents of participating students also felt the positive impact of the contest.

Parent Gloria Galindo said that Guppy Tank “teaches very valuable skills, such as entrepreneurship, researching, and public speaking. Coming up with a solution to reduce plastic pollution is a worthy endeavor and going through this process really made my kids think about the problems that come from plastic pollution.”

Educators from participating schools expressed excitement about the contest.

“A hands-on opportunity like this allows our students to connect what they learn in the classroom, to the real world, and make it more engaging,” said Stephanie Mendez, a Specialist in the Career & Technical Education (CTE) Department for the Pharr-San Juan-Alamo Independent School District.

The $2500 donation to Make-A-Wish Rio Grande Valley will go toward granting a wish for a child in the Rio Grande Valley. The Make-A-Wish foundation grants wishes to children with life-threatening medical conditions.

A Valley institution for 30 years, Watermill Express has supported the community by donating thousands of gallons of water to organizations such as the Rio Grande Valley Diabetes Association, American Cancer Society, South Texas Multiple Sclerosis Council and more.

Watermill Express Names Winners of Third Annual Guppy Tank Contest; Makes $2,500 Donation to Make-A-Wish Foundation Rio Grande Valley

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Seven Rio Grande Valley Students Present Business Ideas to Judges for Chance to Win Cash Prizes

MCALLEN, Texas – A winner has been crowned in this year’s Guppy Tank Contest, where students from the Rio Grande Valley present their entrepreneurial ideas to a panel of expert judges.

Lola Tamez of McAllen, TX, was awarded the top honor for “Lola’s Pocket Sockets”, an innovative idea that combines a phone charger with a case accessory. Tamez was awarded a one-time cash prize of $500 for her winning presentation. Second place went to Branndon Perez for his concept, “The Dugout”, which earned him a one-time price of $250 cash. Gabriela Galindo came in third for “Break Away Eggs”. Luke Ramos came in fourth with “Stepping Stones Tutoring”. Colton Caldwell, Madison Shinsato, and Nathan Pitt sealed the fifth-place spot for “Solar Power Engine”. Third, fourth, and fifth place winners were awarded $50 each.

In addition to helping finalists fund their business ideas with cash prizes, Watermill Express donated $2500 to Make-A-Wish Foundation Rio Grande Valley. This donation will go toward granting a wish for a child in the Rio Grande Valley.

The Guppy Tank Contest is a fun take on the popular TV show “Shark Tank” and is meant to inspire area students 8 to 13 years old to think critically and creatively about business ownership. The panel of judges includes Lani Dolifka, President & CEO at Watermill Express; Chris Jacobs, News Anchor at KGBT 4; Ava Sandlin, Executive Director at Make-A-Wish Foundation Rio Grande Valley; and Patti Sunday, Marketing Consultant.

“We started Watermill Express out of our garage and know what it takes to build a business from nothing,” said Dolifka. “I am excited to support area youth by encouraging creativity and hard work through our Guppy Tank Contest.”

“Make-A-Wish is very grateful to Watermill Express and the wonderful work they continue to do for our deserving children in the Rio Grande Valley,” said Sandlin. “This is the third annual Guppy Tank competition benefitting Make-A-Wish RGV, but we have actually been fortunate enough to have been partners with Watermill Express for several years before the creation of this unique concept.  Through the efforts of our friends at Watermill Express, many wishes have come true for children in our community.”

A Valley institution for 30 years, Watermill Express has supported the community by donating thousands of gallons of water to organizations such as the Rio Grande Valley Diabetes Association, American Cancer Society, South Texas Multiple Sclerosis Council and more.

About Watermill Express

Watermill Express is the largest drive-up pure drinking water and ice company in the nation and the green alternative to prepackaged water.  Watermill Express customers reuse their own clean containers to reduce pollution from single-use plastic water bottles. Waterocks® Ice is now available at select locations. Call 1-800-487-9643 for more information.

From left to right: Chris Jacobs, Patti Sunday, Lani Dolifka, Ava Sandlin standing behind first-place winner Lola Tamez

From left to right: Gilbert Espinosa – District Manager at Watermill Express; Ava Sandlin – Executive Director at Make-A-Wish Foundation Rio Grande Valley; Miguel Martinez – Promotional Specialist at Watermill Express; Lani Dolifka – President/CEO of Watermill Express