SAN LEANDRO -- Three San Leandro High all-female teams took top honors at an international innovation competition.
The three teams each were awarded $2,000 in the World Series of Innovation, which challenged teams to design products to improve people's lives.
"I am so excited," said the five students' teacher, Dawn Fregosa, of the school's business and finance academy.
The students won in three of the competition's six categories. The innovation competition is organized by the nonprofit Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship, which teaches its curriculum through the Eden Area Regional Occupational Program.
Seniors Maggie Mehair, Diana Grande and Lara Friedland collaborated on two teams: Team Jewelly and Team Talent Trade.
Team Talent Trade came up with an app to help young people find or become mentors in their community and meet people. In the accompanying marketing video, a girl falls while trying to hit a soccer ball into a net during practice.
She sighs, and the voice-over says, "I suck at soccer." A boy comes over and offers to help her, giving her soccer technique tips. In exchange, she agrees to help him with his calculus.
Mehair portrayed the girl in the video, and the role was not a stretch.
"I'm not very good at soccer," she said, laughing. "I'm bad, but not that bad," referring to the klutzy character she played.
She does excel at calculus.
"I'm more book smart; I'm not really athletic," Mehair said.
Like many seniors, she is waiting to hear which colleges have accepted her for next fall.
"I plan to incorporate computer science into either business or biology," she said of her college plans.
The online competition had seven categories, with winners chosen by both the judges and the public. It was underwritten by companies such as Microsoft, GoDaddy, Coca-Cola, Pitney Bowes Foundation and MasterCard. Winners were announced earlier this month.
Mehair, Grande and Friedland created a new brand of bottled water in a different competition category, earning them the people's choice award in online voting.
Their product, Jewelly, is a water-based beverage with glitter-infused aloe vera jellies and flavoring.
"It targets the younger generation. It is becoming a huge problem; they're not drinking enough water. But instead of just using packaging to attract them, we decided to use aloe vera incorporated with edible sparkles, with just a little bit of flavoring for a sweet, fruity taste," Mehair said.
Team Tiffany, with sophomores Janet Nguyen and Tiffany Hua, won the judges choice award for their innovation app design VolYOUTeer.
The app connects people who want to volunteer with those who are hosting events. It includes a reminder 24 hours before an event and a GPS. A filter on the app allows the user to fine-tune a search, such as adding an age range or location, Nguyen said.
The idea for the app partly came from her own frustration searching volunteer sites.
"I would struggle finding events. There wouldn't be anything specific for my age group; you had to be 18, or it was too far," she said.
The teenagers plan to split their winnings, and the school's business academy also receives cash.
"I'll either buy a new laptop for college or use the money to help pay for senior year expenses," Mehair said.
Contact Rebecca Parr at 510-293-2473 or follow her at Twitter.com/rdparr1.