Pitch-It! Winners

Heather Killen
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MRHS’s Bonsai gets children back to healthy eating with fun playset

Four-members of Bonsai will travel to Toronto to have dinner with a top Canadian business leader after winning the provincial Pitch-It! Junior Achievement competition in Halifax November 28. From left are Bonsai president Erika Rice, a Grade 12 student at Middleton Regional High School; James Mastin, Grade 11 at MRHS; Jessy Gervais, Grade 12 at West Kings High School; and Tamesha Richards, Grade 12 at MRHS.

By Heather Killen

The Spectator



Middleton Regional High School’s next generation of business leaders is selling a winning idea to get kids eating healthy.

Bonsai, MRHS’s Junior Achievement team, won first place in the provincial Pitch-it! competition held November 28 in Halifax. This annual event is the students’ version of CBC television’s Dragons Den where teams have a chance to pitch ideas to a panel of celebrity coaches.

The 12-member team with members from Bridgetown, Middleton, and West Kings High Schools, have written and illustrated a children’s book titled Back to the Roots aimed at children aged preschool to Grade 4.

The book uses fruit and vegetable characters and a playset of finger puppets to teach kids about the importance of healthy eating choices.


Enjoyable Experience

Erika Rice, president of Bonsai, says, “Our mission is to provide an enjoyable experience to both parents and children, while adding an exciting twist to the adventure of play. We want children to be aware of where their food comes from, and the nutritional value behind it.”

Their main character is “Andy Asparagus” who accompanies the book as a hand knitted toy, along with 10 other sprouts, knitted finger puppets available in the deluxe set. The book sells for $10; the book and five finger-puppets are priced at $15; while the deluxe set with the book with all 11 characters is $20.

JA Companies from across the province competed in the November 28 Pitch-it event held at the World Trade and Convention Centre in Halifax. Four-members of Bonsai will next travel to Toronto to have dinner with a top Canadian business leader. Jessy Gervais, Tamesha Richards, and James Mastin will be accompanying Rice on the trip.


Junior Achievement

Junior Achievement programs give high school students an opportunity to set up, run, and own a business over a period of 19 weeks while guided by a team of volunteer advisors.  The idea is to pick up practical business experience and skills, while having fun.

The student business teams try to surpass a break-even point and become profitable before liquidating their companies in the spring. Proceeds will be divided among team members and the Junior Achievement program.

“This whole experience has been incredible,” says Rice. “Hearing the feedback from the coaches was great and this win especially means a lot in my Grade 12 year.”

For more information about how to purchase Back To The Roots, email bonsai.ja.ns@gmail.com. For more information on Junior Achievement programs or to volunteer visit janovascotia.org.


Organizations: Junior Achievement, Middleton Regional High School, Roots CBC West Kings High Schools JA Companies World Trade and Convention Centre

Geographic location: Halifax, Bridgetown, Toronto

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