Tyner students win LAUNCH competition with expression

December 17, 2013 | TimesFreePress | Meghan Pittman

Imagine a brightly painted VW van driving through the streets of Chattanooga’s inner city, honking its horn at recreation centers and churches. Kids and adults run out to the street as two high school students and a volunteer artist pass out supplies for today’s class.

That’s Tyner Academy students Demetric Bush and Ashunti Garner’s dream; an art-class- mobile named LOUD. A chance for people isolated in the inner city to express themselves. “In my opinion, the inner city is dull. There’s no sense of creativity,” Demetric said. “We need to give them a chance to express themselves. It will make their community stronger.” Ashunti agrees. She wants to help people find a way to express themselves in positive ways. “I just know this would help so many people. If they gave art a chance, it would bring a lot of change to the area,” she said. Demetric and Ashunti are both artists who hope to pursue art after high school. But before, they want to see their vision to take shape.

That’s more of a reality now after winning this year’s LAUNCH High School Entrepreneurial Competition. LOUD beat out 17 other high school groups at this year’s event, taking the top prize of $10,000 worth of business counseling and help.

Behind them, another partnership from Tyner Academy took second place. Johnny Richie and DaMika Cox’s healthy organic drink Exquisite Breeze drew attention from area sponsors and even the Hamilton County Health Department. They want to help them get their idea of a healthy alternative to sugary and acidic beverages off the ground. All of the groups that participated from Tyner Academy will continue to develop their businesses, said teacher Kim O’Neil.

“They are all winners and all of them want to continue their project,” she said. “I just think this is the right time to get them thinking that they can do something like this.”

Story originally posted via Community.TimesFreePress.com.