Meeker student wins big in D.C.

6/23/2016 | TACOMA, Washington

​On June 13, Maxx Stewart of Meeker Middle School was chosen as the winner of the Saunders Scholars Competition, and was awarded a prize package including a $30,000 college scholarship to the Rochester Institute of Technology Saunders College of Business. The prize also included a package of business start-up services from Toshiba and Blue Tie. The competition took place at America's Small Business Summit, hosted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington, D.C.

​Maxx Stewart of Meeker Middle School presents his lacrosse grip company
"Spyder Grypz" at America's Small Business Summit in Washington, D.C.

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Maxx’s entry, a company he founded called Spyder Grypz, sells custom grip kits for lacrosse sticks. Maxx hopes to expand the applications for his product to other sports equipment, including tennis rackets and baseball bats. Most sports grips involve some kind of tape; Maxx’s innovation, a tube-like rubber grip that slips on, tightens to fit when heated with a heat gun or blow dryer.
Maxx developed his business plan while attending the Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) offered by the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce. YEA!, founded and headquartered in Rochester, New York, offers programs in over 100 communities across the United States. During the course of the YEA! program, which spans 30-weeks of an academic year, students work closely with business leaders, community leaders and educators to guide them as they learn to transform ideas into real, tangible companies that create economic and social value.

The Chamber will have another academy session this fall. Tacoma’s YEA! class meets at Stadium High School Tuesday through Thursday mornings from November to May from 6:30 to 7:25 a.m. before the regular school day begins.  Students can apply to the program at, or obtain more information by calling the Chamber at  (253) 682-1727.