While totally unrelated in nature, a common thread in the following two examples of Memorial High School (MHS) students who did not let COVID-19 get in the way of their projects, is that they invited friends to join in to make the results better.
A great life lesson in the midst of a difficult year: you don’t have to do it alone.
Gavin Simpson, a senior at MHS, has been involved in a business called SeatsX with his father and other partners. The company’s software helped individuals “sell” seats in their cars for commuters, and even to sell concert tickets.
When COVID-19 put a halt to these kinds of transactions, they shifted the use of the software to become ShipsX, where people could earn money by offering space in their cars for package deliveries. Simpson put the SBISD Core Value of Limitless Curiosity to work by marketing the service to small grocery stores in Houston without access to large networks of trucks and drivers to deliver their specialty foods. The response was enough that he recruited friends to help with distributions.
Simpson and friends from the MHS tennis team, as well as his church, spent many hours each day of the hot summer -- picking up grocery orders from small grocery stores along Hillcroft, and delivering the food to customers staying home due to COVID-19.
“I certainly got to be a better driver,” laughed Simpson, having navigated through unfamiliar neighborhoods, through tropical downpours, and even a tire blow-out on the freeway. He also recognized their work was a way to serve the community during the pandemic.
“The people I met delivering food were so nice,” said Simpson. “They were very thankful. And I got to deliver all kinds of food I had never seen or tried before.”
Money earned from the small delivery fees and tips is going toward college expenses for next school year. Simpson is also using some hard-earned funds to buy stocks, as he is learning about trading this year.
He has applied to several Texas colleges and Arizona State. It should be no surprise that his planned major is Finance.
Another MHS senior, Abhinav (Abhi) Sinha, organized some of his friends to help with his Eagle Scout project last summer. Under his leadership, they built seven bookshelves for Buffalo Creek Elementary, and conducted a book drive, which netted more than 650 books for the school.
“I organized my volunteers to assemble the shelves at [physically distanced] work stations,” said Sinha.
At MHS, he has been involved in the Science Olympiad program, which puts teams of students together to compete in STEM competitions. He is also a vice president in the Future Business Leaders club at MHS, and is a co-president of the school’s orchestra.
This year, Sinha wanted underclassmen to get and stay involved in the groups, even though meetings and activities would look very different due to COVID-19 constraints.
“I didn’t want the clubs to fade out,” he said. He encouraged participation through Remind messages and organizing virtual events such as game nights and using a platform called Discord to have online get-togethers with prizes.
Sinha was influenced to pursue an engineering major next year following a summer internship with GSI Environmental. “That experience in the corporate culture of an engineering firm was a tipping point for me,” he said.
Stanford University is his top choice but has applied to other equally impressive back-up universities.
Regardless of where his leadership skills take him after graduation, SBISD is proud he will represent our Core Value of Collaborative Spirit, which asserts, in part, “Together we’re better.”