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Designed By Students School Supplies by Kid Entrepreneurs

Student Entrepreneurs Develop New School Supplies – The Designed by Students school supplies line is available now at Staples – just in time for Back to School shopping. Who knows what a student needs to be successful in school better than a student? A unique education program has offered middle school students a chance to help create and design school products that solve some of their real-life problems. As the experts on school supplies, these students had insights about what kinds of supplies work best in and out of the classroom. The results of their ideas are real-life products that are innovative, creative and extremely useful. These new school supplies are so original, that they will be hitting stores and online this summer.

Oakland County Moms interviewed Angela Maiers about these newly invented school supplies. Angela Maiers, founder of Choose2Matter – a global movement that challenges and inspires students to work collaboratively to develop innovative solutions to social problems, is an award-winning educator, author, speaker, and trainer, known for her work in leadership, innovation, literacy, and teaching. Angela helps learners and leaders understand the transformational power of technology.

See below for the interview and find out where you can buy these new school supplies!

Lisa LaGrou of Oakland County Moms – These products were created as a part of the Designed by Students school supplies program. Is this program something that will help develop the children today into entrepreneurs and inventors?

Angela Maiers, founder of Choose2Matter – I actually believe it does even more than that. It already sees kids as entrepreneurs and inventors. It went straight to kids… Staples went straight to the source and said, “You guys already know what you need. You already know what the problems are. You have a responsibility, you have a challenge to design and develop something that will solve these problems.” And, so middle school students got together and they brainstormed and they collaborated and they really thought through what were smart solutions to things they heard their friends asking about or talking about or that they themselves wished for or needed in product. And then they prototyped those products, and then they had to pitch Staples…It’s truly extraordinary… just the experience for kids. It’s an extraordinary prototype of what we should be doing between teachers and students and companies and individuals and really tapping in to this creative genius that kids have.

Lisa LaGrou of Oakland County Moms – So the inventions are beyond hypothetical, they are actually in production?

Angela Maiers, founder of Choose2Matter – They are not only in production, they’re available to you right now…what these kids thought through. And the level at which they thought through… they thought through everything from locker space to lunch room space to their desk and where they would need their supplies and how to organize their lives and their learning. One of their favorite designs is what they call The Big Pen. I call it a Super Pen… as a mom and as a teacher. The tip of the pen interchanges with every kind of writing tool that the kids would need. So, if they needed a highlighter for that day, if they needed a marker for that day, if within the same assignment they need to switch from a pen to a pencil, all they need to do is switch out the tip of the pen, and it’s all right there in one tool. On the flip side of the pen, there’s a giant detachable market and inside of it an embedded pencil sharpener. And just as you think this is the coolest thing in world, it opens up and the entire pen itself is a storage container. All of the supplies the kids need is tucked in there so there’s never such a thing as lost time because they literally have everything that they need at their fingertips for any assignment that comes along. All of those same thinking processes were used for every different situation. So, even the backpack… the traditional backpack, you know, you put a ton of stuff in there. If it doesn’t fit, you rip the zipper open and try to shove it in. The students said, “We can’t do that anymore. Some days we need really big backpacks and some days we just have a light load.” So, they put an accordian design in the backpack so it expands and it shrinks based on what their personal day looks like. So on the days where you’ve got a big test, and you have to bring home lots of books and binders, the bag expands all the way out. But, you don’t have to carry a big bag all of the time because there are a lot of days where you just need a little quick thing to put one or two items in there, flip this around your shoulder and you’ve got a nice slim line, skinny bag. And they’re beautiful… the colors are extraordinary. It isn’t just functional. It’s truly stylish.

Lisa LaGrou of Oakland County Moms – Will we be able to buy these for this year’s back-to-school shopping?

Angela Maiers, founder of Choose2Matter – Yes, absolutely. So, what’s exciting is that the items …from the backpacks to the folders to the pens – everything that they created, is available at select local Staples stores. But all of it is available if you go to

Lisa LaGrou of Oakland County Moms – That’s great. So middle schoolers developed the products, but for what ages are these Designed By Students school supplies?

Angela Maiers, founder of Choose2Matter – The middle school students are the ones that did the creation and the prototype, but the products are available and useful for every age of learner. And, really, as a mom, I’m looking through this and I was sorting through it with my own kids they’re like “I love this and I love this,” but mommy loves this! This is what mommy wants. I have a high school student, a college student, and my nieces are in elementary school… and there was literally something for every one them. And both my sister and I were sitting there thinking “I could use that for work.”…These are not just designs that students can use, these are products that learners can use. So, it’s truly phenomenal what these kids thought through and what they provided us in terms of value to any consumer.

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