HARTSDALE, N.Y. - Woodlands High School juniors Nicole Moncada and Melanie Weiner took first prize earlier this month when they competed in the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship Business Plan Competition at Westchester Community College.
The Woodlands team competed with 20 other students from 13 Westchester County schools and advanced to the National Business Plan Competition which will be held in October at the Marriott Hotel in New York City. NFTE is a national non-profit organization that empowers youth through education and business skills. Woodlands teacher Elizabeth Egan "coached" Moncada and Weiner, who presented a business plan for Chameleon Covers, which manufactures custom covers for crutches, canes and wheelchairs, targeting the youth market. Chameleon Covers provides assistive devices for temporarily or permanently disabled children. "The NFTE Business Plan competition is a great opportunity for students to display their efforts and talents," Egan said. "It is rewarding for the students to be recognized. It is also a great learning experience to be able to interact with successful and talented professionals." Representatives from the event's corporate sponsor MasterCard joined business people from New York Life, Archie Comic Books, Westchester Youth Bureau, Mission Court Grip and several privately held firms in evaluating the competition. "I didn't know what to expect as I first walked through the Gateway Doors (Westchester Community College)," Moncada said. "This was my first time in the NFTE Competition and there were people that I didn't know, but wanted to know me. I never thought I'd walk out the doors as the first-place winner with my partner Melanie Weiner. This was a memorable experience and I'll never forget the smile on Mrs. Egan's face and the tears streaming down my mother's cheeks." Weiner said she and her partner had no expectations of winning and were just trying to do their best. "We were just two high school friends that worked well together," Weiner said. "After hearing our names called to make it to the final round, we were astonished and prouder of each other than ever before. While preparing to enter the final round for the competition, our hearts were beating so fast and we couldn't sit still. Weiner said the results of the competition inspired the Woodlands team. "We gave it our all and tried to put our personality into our presentation," Weiner said. "To get first in the County means so much to me since it goes to show - never expect the least for yourself because you never know when you'll end up at the top."
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