Pat-Med students win second annual ‘Shark Tank’ contest with global activism app idea


Students won big at Pat-Med High School’s second annual Shark Tank competition hosted last month by the Patchogue Young Professionals business networking group.

Modeled after ABC’s popular show “Shark Tank,” students developed and pitched their entrepreneurial ideas for a chance to win prizes sponsored by local businesses.

The first-place prize of $1000 — donated by SQ4D, the Long Island company behind the nation’s first 3D-printed home  — was presented to juniors Maya Marquez-Sturm and Emily Skorupski for their global activism app called GAIA.

The duo brainstormed the idea for an app that includes various features that would allow people to sign up for volunteer work, find charities to donate to, and provide resources for people to educate themselves on social issues. 

Emily says the goal of the app is to connect people and provide an easy way for them to help the causes that are important to them. 

“We really enjoyed doing it,” Maya said. “It was a fun challenge.”

In second place was senior Jayde Iannone, awarded with a $500 check thanks to the Tap Room.

Jayde came up with a new and cheaper way to protect your eyes by creating a screen protector-like shield called Smart Lens that can make any pair of glasses Blue Light glasses.

“I didn’t expect myself to do it because I was nervous, but I don’t regret it at all. It was definitely an opportunity I didn’t want to miss,” said Jayde.

Seniors Stephanie Lally and Maddy Frascogna got third place for their product Doc Ur Phone and were awarded a $250 check donated by Realty Connect USA realtor Vanessa Gonzalez.

Maddy said they came up with the idea as a way to combat texting while driving and eliminate the number of accidents that happen because of it. 

The product requires users to put their phone in a dock that locks the device before driving. 

Doc Ur Phone will beep until it knows the phone is not in your hands.

“I’m not really a business person, so this was my first experience with it and I thought it was really cool learning about the different aspects,” Stephanie said.

An honorable mention was granted to sophomore Daissy Pereira for her idea of a health robot that could help those suffering from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Daissy says her self-help robot would give people access to a variety of health services both mental and physical. She explains she came up with the idea after seeing videos of people struggling with their health during the COVID-19 pandemic and wanted to create something that would help. 

Students expressed that because of the pandemic, there hasn’t been much going on throughout the school year, so the Shark Tank contest was something they could look forward to. 

“It inspires me,” said Stephen King of Realty Connect USA, a co-founder and board member of the Young Professionals group. “We get to see these students develop these ideas and then implement them. It’s very rewarding for us; there’s a lot of talented kids in this high school.”

The winners said they’ll be putting their prize money towards college and enrollment fees — and maybe put some aside to treat themselves too.

“We wanted to spark entrepreneurship into the young students in Patchogue,” said Pat-Med librarian Michele Cayea, also of of the Young Professionals group. “It makes it more special knowing that the kids did this on their own time and did their own research not being guaranteed anything — they just wanted a chance at being able to win and showcase what they did, and that’s what entrepreneurship is all about.”

Check out more photos of Pat-Med’s very own entrepreneurs below.

Winners pictured (left to right) Top: Stephanie Lally, Maddy Frascogna, and Daissy Pereira. Bottom: Emily Skorupski, Maya Marquez-Sturm, and Jayde Iannone.
Pictured (left to right) Michele Cayea, Maya Marquez-Sturm, Emily Skorupski, and Stephen King.
Pictured (left to right) Michele Cayea, Jayde Iannone, and Stephen King.
Pictured (left to right) Michele Cayea, Stephanie Lally, Maddy Frascogna, and Stephen King.
Pictured (left to right) Michele Cayea, Daissy Pereira, and Stephen King.

Top: Winners and participants of the “Shark Tank” contest along side Michele Cayea, Stephen King, and Pat-Med administrators.