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Murray Journal

Murray High student wins people’s choice award at state entrepreneurship challenge

Jul 06, 2020 11:03AM ● By Julie Slama

Murray High junior Liberty McBride created “Pocket Change” app, which won the people’s choice award of the 2020 High School Utah Entrepreneur Challenge. (Photo courtesy of Stephanie Jorgensen/FLASH Jorgensen Photography)

By Julie Slama | [email protected]urnals.com

Junior Liberty McBride plays volleyball and softball at Murray High and will be senior class president in the fall. 

Liberty also wants to make money in school, but she said that is hard to do with her afterschool activities. Yet, that hasn’t stopped her from finding a way.

Using skills from her personal finance and business management classes and lessons from her dad, who is self-employed, she created Pocket Change, an app that enables students to investigate educational and career options, acquire professional skills and enter the workforce in their career to gain a little “pocket change.”

“The main purpose is to provide jobs and paid internships so students can work with actual people in the field and decide if the career is something that they’d like to pursue,” Liberty said, adding that this way, high school students may be able to hold a job that has flexible hours around their schedules. “I showed my teacher and she thought it was great.”

Liberty then entered her app in the 2020 High School Utah Entrepreneur Challenge, coordinated by the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute, a division of the David Eccles School of Business at the University of Utah.

Pocket Change advanced from the 350 entries from more than 40 state high schools to the top 20, then won the people’s choice award with 969 out of 3,757 total online votes.

While the full competition was disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the top 20 teams were able to showcase their ideas online and allow the public to vote on their favorite teams.

“I talked to my friends and teachers and they thought it was a great idea. I just talked to as many people as I could to share the idea. On the website, it showed that it had 16,000 views,” she said.

Liberty was awarded $1,000—a little more than “pocket change.”

She’s already decided to invest her winnings into taking her app to make it a reality and hopes to work with app developers to do so. 

“I think every high school kid wants to make money for activities and dances and gas, but we also have limited time with high school activities—and we want to do something that will help us in our careers. It also is an avenue for employers who are looking for someone interested in entering their field,” she said.

While she is disappointed that she couldn’t present the idea in front of a panel of judges since the in-person portion of the contest was canceled in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, she appreciated the chance to share her idea.

“This is what I want to do, go into business and help people. I want this to grow and provide people with jobs. It’s really exciting to see other people who thought the idea is great,” she said, adding that she’d like to take Murray High’s new entrepreneurship and business marketing classes. “I read the other ideas in the top 20 and there really are some cool ideas.”

Other area students from high schools include Skyline High’s “Optimized Lawn Care,” which received 303 votes; Herriman High’s “TagTeam” with 192 votes; Hillcrest High’s “Pocket Gardens” with 135 votes; AMES’ “The Circle of Life” with 26 votes; AMES “EcoFashion” with 21 votes; and Waterford’s “Epicure” with 14 votes.