Zack Dillon brings home college credit, scholarships from state competition
Tecumseh High School Senior, Zack Dillon is one of three local learners who received college credit and scholarships after taking second place in the state 2018 iChallengeU program.
iChallengeU is a two-week educational opportunity sponsored by Michigan Works! for high school learners to work with area teachers, corporate, civic, and community leaders to develop solutions to real problems posed by the corporate/civic/community partners.
Early this summer, Dillon and two other Lenawee County high school learners were randomly assigned with teacher leader Andrew Weber from Jonesville Community Schools, to work together on a project for Hospice of Lenawee.
“We didn’t know anybody on our team beforehand; we didn’t get to pick what business we were going to work with. It was a challenge at first,” said Dillon. “It was a weird situation, working with people you’ve never met before, and in two weeks you have to become a functioning team.”
The team was tasked with answering the driving question of “How can Hospice of Lenawee develop a countywide school program for kids dealing with grief?” The team spent two weeks onsite at Hospice of Lenawee, learning about the organization and what it offers the community, developing a solution, and preparing their presentation.
“We went to Hospice of Lenawee every day the first week, putting in 40 hours,” said Dillon. “The second week we put in about 20 hours, mostly polishing up our presentation.”
Dillon’s team, along with eight other area teams, presented their ideas in the first round of competition at Baker College on July 20, and were selected as one of two teams to advance to the state competition on July 28.
While Dillon was able to pull from the technical skills he learned from his LISD TECH Center Video and Audio Production class, he said the biggest learning experience for him came in the form of 21st-century skills that were required throughout the process.
“Communication was a big thing. We had to give and take with what we wanted to do and we had to find a dynamic that would work within this group that we had just met,” said Dillon. “Learning how to communicate and collaborate with my peers was the biggest thing I will take away from this experience.”
The Hospice of Lenawee team was narrowly edged out by a team working with the Lenawee County Education Foundation on the opioid crisis to bring home second place. Each team member earned five credits to Jackson College, and scholarships from Baker College, Cleary University, Eastern Michigan University, and Siena Heights University totaling $7,500.
Reflecting on the program, Zack believes the opportunities that he has experienced at TPS contributed to his team’s success.
“Tecumseh gave me a lot of opportunities academically. They can offer something for everybody depending on what they are interested in,” said Dillon. “This was an awesome experience for me, working with businesses in Lenawee and seeing what they are all about. I think that is very important.”
iChallengeU streamed the Baker College presentations live and you can view them here (Zack’s team’s presentation begins approximately the 2:15 mark).