Wheeling High grad makes pitch on 'Shark Tank' Sunday

 
Daily Herald reports
Posted1/24/2018 1:11 PM
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  • Martin Dimitrov, who turned his Wheeling High School entrepreneurship class assignment into a business, will appear on "Shark Tank" Sunday.

    Martin Dimitrov, who turned his Wheeling High School entrepreneurship class assignment into a business, will appear on "Shark Tank" Sunday. Courtesy of SnapClips

  • Football players at Fremd High School in Palatine volunteered to work at the Roots Garden at Partners for Our Communities in Palatine last season as part of a new initiative called Iron Will Outreach.

    Football players at Fremd High School in Palatine volunteered to work at the Roots Garden at Partners for Our Communities in Palatine last season as part of a new initiative called Iron Will Outreach. Courtesy of Anne Morel

A 2016 Wheeling High School graduate who turned his entrepreneurship class assignment into a business will appear Sunday on the "Shark Tank" TV show.

Martin Dimitrov, now a 19-year-old sophomore at the University of Illinois at Chicago, admits he spends most of his time running his burgeoning company, SnapClips, which are Velcro bracelets that hold weights in place on a barbell.

Dimitrov can't yet say how he did on the show, but believes the national TV appearance could be a "breakout moment" for his product.

In 2015, Dimitrov and classmates, then juniors in high school, won Northwest Suburban High School District 214's Startup Showcase. They also got a $2,500 grant from an incubator to incorporate an LLC and start manufacturing, and raised $23,000 on Kickstarter.

Dimitrov says one of his investors encouraged him to go on "Shark Tank" -- the popular ABC show in which entrepreneurs seek investment dollars from a panel of business leaders. Dimitrov and his business partners made it past a casting call in Boston and last September got to go to Los Angeles for a taping of the show.

"Our task is getting out in front of people," Dimitrov said. "With 'Shark Tank,' I think we really accomplished that."

-- Chris Placek, cplacek@dailyherald.com

Fremd football scores off the field:

Football players at Fremd High School in Palatine showed their volunteer spirit as part of a new initiative last season.

Through the Iron Will Outreach -- a play on the team's longtime "Iron Will" slogan -- players logged about 950 service hours.

"The boys and coaches wanted to give back to the community that has supported them," said Anne Morel, whose son Brian was among the players taking part in the program. "So the focus of their service has been in our immediate community."

Among the service projects in which players took part was reading to students and assisting teachers at Pleasant Hill Elementary School, working at the Roots Garden at Partners for Our Communities, and spreading mulch at St. Joseph's Home for the Elderly.

Brian Morel said the volunteer work was a great experience and he's excited for the second season of Iron Will Outreach.

"Personally, I got a sense of pride and accomplishment out of serving the community," he said. "As a team, we grew closer through working together at these events."

Anne Morel, who helped coordinate activities with fellow football parent Kim Saxe, said planning already has started for volunteer opportunities for next season. Players also intend to contribute volunteer hours in the off season.

"As a parent, I think it's important that kids know they are valued and have something to offer others so that they give it freely," she said. "Most of the boys seemed to understand this and feel a part of who and what they were helping."

-- Bob Susnjara, bsusnjara@dailyherald.com

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