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