BENTONVILLE (KFSM)-- Around 160 Bentonville High school students competed Wednesday (Feb. 24) to win prize money to help fund a community improvement project.
The 24 teams of ninth graders gave their presentations to a panel of judges made up of local school and community members.
Shawn Quinlan works for the school district and helped pick the winner.
"You know it's obviously things that the students believe in and are passionate about," Quinlan said, "And they see as a need in our community."
Fifteen-year-old Andrew Milam participated in the competition. Milam and his team's idea was to improve Blowing Springs Park in Bella Vista. Milam said he used to visit the park as a child.
"When I was picking out a project to do I thought of that, because I liked all the trails there," Milam said. "I always had fun running on them and playing on them."
Milam said if they won the competition, they were planning to use the prize money toward building a playground and shaded pavilion. He said while giving the presentation, he learned more than just public speaking. Milam said he learned to think about his life outside of school.
"When you stop and think about this kind of stuff, there's actually kind of a need for it because you want to help improve the community as a whole," he said.
The principal of Bentonville High school provided the funds for the competition, with $1,000 going to the winning team and $500 going to the runner-up. The winning idea was a cancer fundraiser. The runner-up was a sports league for kids with disabilities.