Cornell Students’ Concept Wins Global Recognition

In March 2012, a six-student Cornell team was selected to compete in the Clinton Global Initiative Conference. Three team members, Karim Abouelnaga ’13, Amy Mitchell (CALS ’13), and Nicholas Savvides (AAP ’14), attended the Clinton Global Initiative Conference (CGI). They worked with Zach West (AEM’13), Andre Perez (AEM’13), and Brennan Spreitzer ’13, to develop a concept called Practice Makes Perfect. Their nonprofit was chosen as one of sixteen concepts to compete in this year’s CGI Commitments Challenge. Practice Makes Perfect pairs underachieving 4th graders with high achieving 9th graders under the supervision of college interns for an academic intensive seven-week summer program. This summer Practice Makes Perfect will operate four programs for 200 students in New York City. The goal is to reduce the achievement gap among grade school students.

The Commitments Challenge is a bracketed competition, and Practice Makes Perfect was edged out in the first round of website voting by an educational concept originated at the University of Chicago that teaches life skills through the game of chess. The sixteen first-round concepts were chosen from hundreds of commitments by thousands of students worldwide. As announced by former President Bill Clinton the winning concept in 2012 was Panda Cycles, which makes affordable bicycles of bamboo, developed by students at George Washington University.