Windstream Announces Winner of Smart Tomorrow Start-Up Challenge

Carter Knopik of Southwest High School in Lincoln, Neb., Wins $20,000 Grand Prize, Additional $20,000 for His School

Little Rock, Arkansas, UNITED STATES

LITTLE ROCK, Ark., March 09, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Windstream (NASDAQ:WIN), a leading provider of advanced network communications, announced today that Carter Knopik from Southwest High School in Lincoln, Neb., and his start-up, “Thought Bubble,” have been named the winner of Windstream’s Smart Tomorrow Start-Up Challenge. 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 grand prize, and another $20,000 will be donated to an affiliated organization at his school.

Carter was one of the three contest finalists that included Anne Brooks and Josh Adams from The Montessori High School of Kentucky in Lexington, Ky., and Ahsan Zafar and Anya Arambulo from Hightower High School in the Sugar Land, Texas, 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 schools’ affiliated organizations.

“We were very impressed by the quality of this year’s submissions and felt that all entries did a great job addressing issues rooted in the realistic needs of their community,” said Sarah Day, president of consumer and small business at Windstream. “Innovation in communication continues to be a priority in the technology community, and Carter’s ability to carve out a new idea through Thought Bubble was very impressive and something he should be extremely proud of.”

The Smart Tomorrow Start-Up Challenge is an entrepreneurship contest for high school students in Lincoln, Neb.; Lexington, Ky., and Sugar Land, Texas. Divided into local and final rounds, the competition challenged students to design a start-up business offering a product or service that can improve our communities and the way we live.

All finalist videos can be found at For more information on the contest, visit

About Windstream
Windstream Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ:WIN), a FORTUNE 500 company, is a leading provider of advanced network communications and technology solutions for consumers, small businesses, enterprise organizations and carrier partners across the U.S. Windstream offers bundled services, including broadband, security solutions, voice and digital TV to consumers. The company also provides data, cloud solutions, unified communications and managed services to business and enterprise clients. The company supplies core transport solutions on a local and long-haul fiber-optic network spanning approximately 125,000 miles. Additional information is available at Please visit our newsroom at or follow us on Twitter at @WindstreamNews.


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