Students Win Big in Smart Tomorrow Start-Up Contest

Thursday, March 10, 2016

This week Windstream announced the winner of its second annual Smart Tomorrow contest for high school students in Lincoln, NE, Lexington KY and Sugar Land TX. For this year’s competition, students were challenged with designing a start-up business offering a product or service that can help improve our communities and the way we live.

Carter Knopik from Southwest High School in Lincoln, NE took home the grand prize for his start-up, “Thought Bubble.” With the growing need for collaboration, Carter designed a platform that allows users to quickly brainstorm new ideas through cloud-based, real-time collaboration. For his hard work and creativity, Carter will be awarded the $20,000, and another $20,000 will be donated to an affiliated organization of Southwest High.

Carter was one of the three contest finalists that included Anne Brooks and Josh Adams from Montessori School of Kentucky in Lexington, KY and Ahsan Zafar and Anya Arambulo from Hightower HS in the Sugar Land, TX area. The finalists were asked to create a 2-3 minute video as if they were pitching their start-up to a group of investors. The winner was chosen based on three criteria: an online vote hosted on, a vote from venture capitalist Jessica Peltz-Zatulove, Principal at kbs+ Ventures, and a vote from Windstream. The two other finalist teams will receive $5,000 each with an additional $5,000 to be donated to their school’s affiliated organization.

All finalist videos can be found at