The Project is Just the Beginning

Colten Lewis enjoys the flexibility of his schedule and the ability to explore his interests. Like all students at Purdue Polytechnic High School, Colten masters core academic subjects, as well as problem-solving, project management and creative thinking skills, by immersing himself in a six-week project.

Teacher Joanne LaBounty recently challenged Colten and his classmates to build a hydroponic system. It took extensive research to learn about hydroponics, followed by the design and construction of a system that would grow produce using a water-based, nutrient-rich solution in place of soil. LaBounty was deliberate in the design of the project to include ample time for students to explore the business of hydroponics. Students determined how they could use the harvest from the project to provide healthy lunches and to supply food to community members in need. 

While working on the project, Colten discovered his passion for business: writing business plans, motivating team members, and leading project development teams. Developing marketing and sales strategies and ensuring everyone delivers on a unified mission. 

It wasn’t a surprise, then, that he chose to serve on the business team with two other classmates. Together, they ensured team members were on track and delivered a product that filled a market need and appealed to customers. 

And Colten came away with a new appreciation for the business of innovation. The experience fueled his future plans. He wants to be an entrepreneur, a leader and a designer. 

“I get a real sense of accomplishment,” he said about his work at Purdue Polytechnic High School. “It’s like running, and the adrenaline. Once you start, you keep going.”