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Ozone Park school wins inaugural Battle of the Boroughs competition

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Hundreds of students participating in the SuitUp “Battle of the Boroughs” competition hosted by the Fordham University Gabelli School of Business, listen to their assignments for the day. (Photo by Bruce Gilbert)

John Adams High School in Ozone Park emerged victorious in the first-ever SuitUp Battle of the Boroughs competition on Dec. 14 at the Fordham University Gabelli School of Business.

The competition focused on diversifying the talent pipeline in the financial services sector by engaging students in an exercise introducing them to the world of finance, while also challenging them to create a product or service that celebrates and rebuilds a sense of community in New York City after the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hundreds of middle school and high school students from schools across each New York City borough participated in the competition. Each school that took part in the event was represented by student teams, who pitched their ideas.

John Adams High School’s winning proposal was for an app that would bring people together through culturally based content and events by promoting small businesses across the boroughs and by launching a campaign to keep the city clean in which all could participate. These students developed a full business plan that provided these budding CEOs with an insider’s view of what it takes to create businesses that are both meaningful to the communities they serve and are sustainable financially.

NYC Deputy Commissioner of External Affairs for the Community Affairs Unit Valerie Vasquez visited with student teams on campus to see first-hand the amazing work the students were involved in and the types of ideas that were being surfaced. Each team’s pitches were reviewed by a panel of judges from companies including Evercore, Centerview Partners, Millennium, Santander Bank, Angelo Gordon, Insight Partners and Goldman Sachs.

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Judges congratulated the winning Battle of the Boroughs team from John Adams High School. (Photo by Bruce Gilbert)

The judges who determined the winner of the competition in the final round included SuitUp Co-founder and Chairman of the Board Zach Graumann, Fordham Foundry Associate Director Shaun Johnson, The Bronx Community Foundation President and CEO Dr. Meisha Ross Porter and Forward Party founder and 2020 U.S. presidential candidate Andrew Yang.

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Fordham University Gabelli School of Business Interim Dean Lerzan Aksoy (center) poses with finals judges (left to right) The Bronx Community Foundation President and CEO Dr. Meisha Ross Porter, Forward Party founder and 2020 U.S. presidential candidate Andrew Yang, SuitUp Co-founder and Chairman of the Board Zach Graumann and Fordham Foundry Associate Director Shaun Johnson. (Photo by Bruce Gilbert)

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