Town Talk Features

Student Standouts: 11.1.17

the pitching innovator
They say that necessity is the mother of invention. Oddly enough, it was a need of MICDS senior Ehan Kamat’s mother that gave birth to his invention, the Solemender. It’s is a freezable roller with a rubber surface that helps alleviate foot pain.

Kamat’s mother was suffering from plantar fasciitis, an inflammation of the thick band of tissue connecting the heel bone to the toes. At age 12, Kamat sought to provide a solution to his mother’s pain. “You don’t want to see your parents running around the house trying to find different gadgets to alleviate their pain,” he says.

Kamat and his parents, both doctors, sat down to discuss solutions. His parents had recommended their own patients freeze a bottle of water and roll the foot on it to relieve pain. But Kamat set out to find a better answer.

After five prototypes, and help from his father, Kamat had a finished product. In an effort to share his invention with others, Kamat took inspiration from entrepreneur Steve Jobs. He had read biographies and listened to numerous stories about the Apple icon, which pushed him in his own endeavor.

Kamat cold-called businesses in the area, asking them for a few minutes of their time. He found success in his pitches, which is no surprise as he was named the Saint Louis University Teen Escalator Pitch winner in 2015. Solemender is now sold in numerous stores throughout the St. Louis area, like Comfort Shoes and Medical West, and in other states.

Solemender even caught the attention of the hit ABC show Shark Tank, which Kamat says he’s been watching since he was 8. Ever since, he’s wanted to be featured on the show.

T&S interviewed Kamat before his appearance on Shark Tank. While he was not selected by any of the sharks, he received high praise from both Mark Cuban and former New York Yankee Alex Rodriguez. “Only 17 years old? Ehan, you impressed me. Email me after college graduation,” Rodriguez tweeted.

a helping hand
Tamar Crump just wants to help people.

Whether it’s assisting her theater classmates with makeup and costumes, discussing how racial issues are affecting her peers, or even lending a hand at Maplewood Richmond Heights High School’s food pantry, Crump just wants to make people feel like someone cares.

Where Crump sees a need, she fills it. And she’s always looking for opportunities. The junior is taking three college credit courses in addition to her AP courses. “I really take pride in my education and learning about new ideas. I find that there are a lot of people who don’t have the same opportunities or the same level of education I do. So I like to take full advantage of that,” Crump says.

She aims to be a benefactor for others. She has volunteered at the school’s food pantry since 8th grade and started an internship there this year. Crump packs canned food, breakfast foods and other items to send out every week. She also helps raise funds and stock the pantry.

So how is she able, at 17, to juggle her responsibilities? “I don’t have a really good answer for that,” Crump says with a chuckle.

She says it’s all about managing her time and prioritizing what needs to get finished each day, so she can focus on the next. She is interested in topics like race relations, which she and her classmates discuss in the mornings and at lunch. The conversation might be heavy and provoke different viewpoints, but Crump is more than willing to see current events through alternative perspectives.

Her principal says despite her loaded daily schedule, she is an “absolute delight to be around” at school.

“If you can do just one thing to help someone, I think you should,” Crump says.

talk to….Kurt Schumaker
Kurt Schumaker is a senior at Saint Louis University High School, and on his most recent attempt at the ACT, he earned a perfect score. While the achievement is not routine among the majority of students, it’s a family affair for the Schumakers; his two brothers also earned the rare accolade. He gives credit to his mom, who encouraged him to give it one more try after scoring a near-perfect 35.

what tripped you up on your prior attempts?
The science section was the one holding me back. I would get a 36 on English every time. I would get a 35 or a 36 on reading and math. Then every single time, I would get a 34 on science. I needed two more points in science each time.

with being a captain on the soccer team and having a full course load, what do you do to unwind?
At SLUH, I am part of the outdoor adventure club. I joined last year. We went on a summer trip to Colorado and went hiking and camping in the mountains. That got me really interested in hiking.

you must have a challenging course load.
I am good at math, so BC Calculus is not that hard. My AP Spanish class is definitely the hardest. I’m not a language guy. It just doesn’t come easily to me.