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Overall Challenge of the Month Winners Visit Tesla Factory
by Dr. Josh Berger, Director of the Belldegrun Center for Innovative Leadership

The overall winners from the inaugural Belldegrun Center for Innovative Leadership (BCIL) "Challenge of the Month Contest" recently had the opportunity to tour the Tesla factory in Fremont, California, and meet with Tesla's Head of Automotive, Jerome Guillen. These BCIL contests connect to our interactive K-12 speaker series through which professionals present significant issues facing their organizations and give students an opportunity to work individually and collaboratively on proposed solutions. The professionals select the winners and partner with the BCIL to provide students with special experiences and other prizes.

Todd Maron '96, former general counsel of Tesla, was one of the initial BCIL speakers on "Innovative Leadership in Green Tech" and presented a challenge revolving around the expansion of electric charging infrastructure in densely populated areas. Seniors Sadie B., Theodore K., Ben S. and Alex S. won the overall contest with their attached submission on wireless charging that we highly recommend reading! Click here to view the winning entry.

Said Ben, "The trip to the incredible Tesla Fremont Factory was a fantastic experience, and I truly appreciate the Belldegrun Center for Innovative Leadership for offering such a life changing opportunity."

Added Sadie about meeting with Guillen, "I hope one day to be as successful and knowledgeable as he is and carry the same drive and passion for efficiency and technology."

This month's Middle School winner was Bella Y. for her creative submission revolving around the addition of chargers to existing street lights, and the Upper School winner was Zach W. for his idea of connecting chargers to residential water meters.

Though our voluntary speaker series takes place during lunches, numerous Middle and Upper School teachers have given class time for students to work on "challenge of the month" proposals due to the significant connections between the challenges and our curriculum. We have been thrilled by the number of entries and the extraordinarily high level of student engagement.

Said Alex about the trip, "We had an incredible experience at Tesla; seeing the behind-the-scenes of one of the most innovative companies in the world really showed us how much is possible when you set a seemingly impossible goal and work towards it."

This current month's challenge revolves around gentrification and stems from our speaker series on "Social Equity through Urban Development." The overall winners will receive a tour of San Francisco's City Hall and surrounding Hope SF neighborhoods, as well as an opportunity to present their ideas to the Mayor of San Francisco's staff.


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