River Ridge High School seniors William Wells and Pierce Baliga with the school’s Business Academy instructor, Chad Mallo, in their classroom. Wells and Balilga brought River Ridge a first-place showing in the Pasco Regional Young Business Entrepreneur Competition for the first time.

NEW PORT RICHEY — William Wells and Pierce Baliga have teamed up on a new device designed to help make life easier for those suffering from diabetes.

The pair of River Ridge High School students formed a partnership almost a year ago and hope to pursue a patent on their idea.

Forming an actual business with their idea may have to wait for a least a few years.

Both Wells and Baliga are preparing for their graduation, with Wells still pondering as to his college of choice and Baliga is preparing to become a member of the U.S. Army.

The two seniors won first place in the Pasco Regional Young Business Entrepreneur Competition.

It was a first for both young men, a first for River Ridge, and a first for their instructor who is just in his second year teaching the business arts.

“I have never met two more ambitious students in my life who are so pro-active, and their presentation skills are by far even better than I could have ever done in college,” said, Chad Mallo, River Ridge Business Academy instructor. “These gentlemen could sell water and you would buy it from them.”

Mallo also gave great credit to the school’s Engineering Academy, which helped with the design ultimately presented to the judges.

Because Wells and Baliga are pursuing a patent and potential business from the product they have developed, the already business-savvy pair asked that any details be withheld from the public domain at this time.

“Our competitors from the other schools did not make it an easy competition,” Wells said.

Both say they make a good team.

“Pierce is the guy who always reminds me to speak up or reminds me to do something,” Wells said.

Baliga said they also “counter each other’s energy.”

“I start to speak and bring the energy up and get everybody’s attention,” Baliga said. “Then, I can pass it off to Will if things start to settle down a little bit. It sets a nice, gradual pace through the presentation and keeps everybody on their toes.”

Both admitted going through the competition can be nerve-racking.

“We made it through three competitions,” Baliga explained “We did the classroom based-level, which we felt very confident with. Then we went to the school-based level. That was where we were most scared.”

Wells said that fear came because they knew what they were up against.

“We go to school with these people,” Baliga said. “When we went to the district-level, we had no idea. It was just we were going to bring what we have. If that’s what it takes to win, God bless.”

The team said they spent their time awaiting their turn fine-tuning their presentation “instead of watching everyone else and worrying what we were going to bring.”

“It was just having the faith that we were going to do,” Wells said. “We weren’t going to just try as hard as we can, but we were going to come out on top. Once you start speaking, it gets 100 times easier.”

They both say the choice to develop a help for those with diabetes comes from their personal knowledge of people who now cope with the disease.

Having an idea that helps others was part of their curriculum.

“One of the major points I make to my students is the importance of a business to give back to their community,” Mallo said. “I think that is part of what they had in mind with this idea.”