For his idea to establish a new public school in Rochester, N.Y., Jericsson Pichardo ’15 has advanced to the next round of the New York Business Plan Competition (NYBPC) where he’ll face off against a highly competitive field of undergraduate and graduate students from area colleges and universities.
Pichardo is scheduled to compete in the NYBPC Finger Lakes Regional Semi-Finals hosted at St. John Fisher College in Rochester on Wednesday, April 8, beginning 5:30 p.m. Pichardo will pitch his plans for launching a public school and corresponding nonprofit: the Rochester River School and the Rochester River Foundation. His achievements in the NYBPC arrive after Pichardo recently competed as a finalist during the Colleges’ 2015 Stu Lieblein ’90 Pitch Contest where he also presented his idea for the school.
In his proposal, the Rochester River School and Rochester River School Foundation would offer “a rigorous college preparatory curriculum that teaches on-water job skills, environmental stewardship, and action by utilizing Rochester’s natural features, especially its waterways.” The “classroom” would extend to the Genesee River and Lake Ontario, as well as the City of Rochester, the Erie Canal, and the nearby Finger Lakes, and would prioritize community engagement, service learning activities, sustainable community development, and community art projects, among other innovative learning opportunities.
At the NYBPC this week, each of the competitors will have 10 minutes to present their plan, with five minutes of question-and-answers from a panel of judges. If Pichardo wins the semi-finals, he would advance to the NYBPC state finals in Albany where he would face competitors from nine other regional events. The SUNY Polytechnic Institute’s Colleges of Nanoscale Science and Engineering, University at Albany’s School of Business, and Syracuse University will host sixth annual NYBPC on Friday, April 24.
Since last spring, Pichardo and Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies Joel Helfrich have worked together on the Rochester River School project. Along the way, they’ve received feedback and guidance from Rochester City School District teachers, administrators, parents, committee members and people involved with charter schools in Rochester. In December 2014, Pichardo and Helfrich appeared on WXXI’s “Connections with Evan Dawson” radio show for a discussion about humane education.
In addition to his focus on the Rochester River School and Rochester River School Foundation, Pichardo has also been awarded the President’s Volunteer Service award from the White House during this past fall. The national award is the premier volunteer awards program, which encourages young people and adults to perform community service to take positive actions to shape the world. Over this past spring break, he was awarded the first Peter Mathiessen Award to an alum at the New York Harbor School award ceremony for his work on the maritime environment, carrying out the principles of the New York Harbor School and for helping out those who are at a disadvantage.
Pichardo will graduate in May with a degree in environmental studies, with a triple minor in biology, education and Latin American studies. On campus, he is a resident assistant, and a teaching assistant. He is also part of the Druid Honor Society, and holds jobs as a lab assistant in the Biology Department and a night monitor at the Office of Intercultural Affairs.
For more information about the New York Business Plan Competition, visit: http://www.sunycnse.com/NewYorkBusinessPlanCompetition.aspx