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January 9, 2024

For information on admission to Notre Dame Prep, please click here.

Future doctor and NDP junior in entrepreneurship and marketing class takes her passion for karate — she's a second-degree black belt — and develops a 'Shark Tank' product plan for a sparring robot.

Claire Donovan NDP'25, second from left, has been practicing karate for seven years. She now has earned a second-degree black belt.

One of Notre Dame Prep's many interesting and innovative courses in its upper school is entrepreneurship and marketing, a one-semester class taught this year by Christian Mansour. The class introduces juniors and seniors to the many facets of business, including human resources, management, accounting, advertising, and sales and marketing. In addition, students learn the basics of starting and running their own successful small business.

Mansour decided this year to introduce a "Shark Tank"-like experience for the class. Shark Tank is a popular TV series that features entrepreneurs making business presentations to venture capitalists called "sharks" on the program who then decide whether to invest in their companies.

"In the class, students are coming up with an invention of their own creation and writing a comprehensive business plan throughout the semester," Mansour said. "Their final exam is to pitch their invention and business 'Shark-Tank'-style."

One of Mansour's more recent students, junior Claire Donovan, took a personal outside interest and made it the focus of her product project.

"I chose to create a sparring robot for my project," she said. "I called it the Kick Bot Robot, and it's a tool that will actively spar with those in karate or other martial arts to increase both sparring skills and defensive ability. The reason I chose it is because karate is one of my biggest passions. I've been a martial artist for around seven years and whenever I can bring my outside interests into school projects, I always focus on karate. I knew that with this product, I could be very successful because of my experience and background in karate."

According to Donovan's plan, the Kick Bot Robot’s raison d'être is to increase sparring frequency using an "efficient and affordably priced tool, which will be accomplished by having at least 25 different movements" available.

"The goals of my Kick Bot Robot project include creating a beneficial sparring tool; creating the safest and most desired sparring tool; becoming a successful company; and having a variety of design looks for the product itself," said Donovan, who recently earned a second-degree black belt in karate. "My presentation noted that these goals will all be reached with extra help from efficient marketing, professional testers, a feedback area available for customers, and a design team."

Donovan, who's been involved with karate for about seven years, said she joined when she was 10 years old after her brother invited her to attend a “bring your friend to karate” class. 

"I love karate because it not only focuses on learning cool techniques and practicing self defense, it also focuses on discipline, respect and other valuable skills. My dojo (karate school), Dynamic Martial Arts, is like my family and being a part of that type of community has allowed everyone to thrive."

Donovan first came to Notre Dame Prep in ninth grade after attending the Romeo Community Schools system. The Washington Township resident said she's had a great experience in high school so far.

"I have made many meaningful connections with teachers and students who have allowed me to grow both academically and spiritually," she said. "After NDP, my dream is to attend Rice University in Houston, Texas. During the summer of my sophomore year, I attended a medical camp at Rice, and I absolutely fell in love with the community there. I want to major in psychology during my undergraduate years and then attend medical school to become an OB/GYN specializing in labor and delivery."

Donovan hopes to attend Rice University and eventually med school.

For information on admission to Notre Dame Prep, please click here.

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About Notre Dame Preparatory School 
Notre Dame Preparatory School is a private, Catholic, independent, coeducational day school located in Oakland County. Notre Dame Preparatory School's upper school enrolls students in grades nine through twelve and has been named one of the nation's best 50 Catholic high schools (Acton Institute) four times since 2005. Notre Dame Prep's middle and lower schools enroll students in pre-kindergarten through grade eight. All three schools are International Baccalaureate "World Schools." NDPMA is conducted by the Marist Fathers and Brothers and is accredited by the Independent Schools Association of the Central States and the National Association of Independent Schools. For more on Notre Dame Preparatory School, visit the school’s home page at