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March 6, 2023– High School North seniors Natalie Rapciewicz and Alexa Sousa have made it to the top ten of Ocean County College’s Sink or Swim competition.

Participants are competing for the title of “High School Entrepreneurial Team of the Year,” and Natalie and Alexa are members of the Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA). The students were informed they were finalists by their FBLA advisor Jamie Tesoro.

“I am so proud of these young women and their accomplishments, and am excited for what the future holds for both of them,” said Tesoro.

In partnership with Phil Brilliant of the Greater Toms River Chamber of Commerce, students from local high schools are participating in Sink or Swim, a Shark-Tank style competition in coordination with Ocean County College business students, business clubs, the Ocean County College Foundation, and the school’s College Relations department.

Students developed a concept for an entrepreneurial product or service, with the more original ideas being grader higher. Based on this creative concept, each team completed a business plan which they submitted for review in mid February.

These submissions were judged by faculty and Kean/Ocean student members of OCC’s Entrepreneurial Club, who then selected their top ten. Those teams were recently notified, and will present their product or service at a live event to be held 9 a.m. to noon April 21 at the OCC Gateway Auditorium.

At that event, each team will give a one-minute elevator pitch to a panel of esteemed judges, prominent members of the Ocean County business community. The judges will then have an opportunity to critique and/or question students about their ideas. The top three teams will win monetary awards and prizes, and a scholarship for one free Ocean County College course will be awarded to the student who makes the “perfect pitch” on behalf of their team.

“Our relationship with Ocean County College opens so many opportunities for our students, from dual enrollment to competitions like this,” said Toms River Regional Schools Supervisor of Educational Technology and CTE Programs Tiffany Lucey. “We look forward to what the next round of this competition will bring!”

Natalie Raponewicz and Alexa Sousa
Why so surprised? High School North's Natalie Rapciewicz and Alexa Sousa have made the top ten of OCC's Sink of Swim competition, which doesn't shock their FBLA advisor at all.