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Illinois State University, Millikin University and Pontiac Township High School partner to honor top innovative students in Illinois

April 26, 2017- In recognition of high school students whose ideas and accomplishments are inspirational, Illinois State University, Millikin University and Pontiac Township High School are partnering to present the 3rd annual Celebrating High School Innovators Competition (CHSI).

The competition identifies, fosters and celebrates high school innovators in the state of Illinois whose contributions are exceptional. High school students in Illinois, entering grades 9-12 for the 2017-2018 school year, who have implemented innovative ideas are encouraged to apply starting May 1, 2017 by completing the online application at //

The competition is endorsed by several Illinois teachers associations, the regional superintendents of schools, and the Governor’s office. In the first year of the program (2014-15), students from around the state were recognized in a variety of areas from entrepreneurship to fashion design, and were awarded with $500 as a result of their innovative achievements.

Students may apply under one of five categories: Arts, Media & Literature; Business Entrepreneurship; Health & Nutrition; Social Entrepreneurship; and Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (STEM). Applicants compete in four rounds of competition, with final awards given for five $1,000 cash prizes and university scholarships.

CHSI also supports the use of pioneering interdisciplinary curriculum designed to empower students, collaborate with a spectrum of students and professionals in multiple contexts, and foster student initiative at the high school level.

The following is a schedule of events for the 2017-2018 Celebrating High School Innovators Competition.

Saturday, June 24, 2017 – Pontiac Township High School

A one-day Mentoring Workshop where students will learn personal branding, video editing, and create a proposal of their innovative ideas.

Saturday, September 30, 2017 – Millikin University

All CHSI applicants are invited for a day of innovation and mentorship on Millikin’s campus.

Friday, November 3, 2017 – Illinois State University

Coinciding with the StartUp Showcase, the top 50 applicants are invited to participate in mentoring workshops and networking on Illinois State University’s campus.

Saturday, March 3, 2018 – Millikin University

The top 30 applicants are invited to Millikin’s campus for a day of mentorship. Special workshops will be provided for high school teachers. The High School Innovation Grant will be announced and awarded.

Saturday and Sunday, April 7-8, 2018 – Illinois State University

The top 30 applicants participate in a final display of their innovations and are interviewed on Saturday. The top ten finalists will be announced at 8:30 a.m. on Sunday morning, advancing to a live “shark tank” competition. These finalists compete for five $1,000 cash prizes and university scholarships on Sunday afternoon.

For more information about Celebrating High School Innovators Competition and to apply, visit //

Paul Ritter
Director, Celebrating High School Innovators
Teacher, Pontiac Township High School
2014 White House Presidential Award for Innovation in Environmental Education
[email protected]

Kate Flemming
Program Coordinator, Center for Entrepreneurship
Millikin University
[email protected]

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