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Amazing Shake

Mason Calhoun wins the Amazing Shake 2017

After an exciting three-day competition, 8th-grader Mason Calhoun was named winner of 2017 Amazing Shake.



After a year-long wait for his chance at redemption, 8th-grade student, Mason Calhoun can mark his mission complete.

Embarking on a journey to win the annual Amazing Shake competition after finishing as one of the top 2 finalists last year, Calhoun zigzagged his way through Round 1 where he engaged with 50 executives from all around Atlanta.  From start to finish, stations placed students in precarious situations leaving them with tasks like resolving boardroom mediation, answering debate questions, engaging with talk show hosts, and pitching two completely, different commercials. After successfully making it "out of the school" as students like to say, Calhoun and his fellow Top 28 students were tasked with "working a room" full of legal personnel at King & Spalding in order to transition into the Top 21. Round 3 found Calhoun at Alston & Bird where the "circle of doom" awaited. There, he along with the rest of the top 21 were tested on their ability to answer difficult, ethical questions in a round-robin fashion. Once he made it to the top 14, Calhoun was entrusted with delivering a marketing pitch to employees from JE Dunn Construction in order to assist with rebranding efforts for its consumers. At the end of a long first day, the top 8 students were chosen including 6th-grader Isaac Smith and 8th graders Amaris Calhoun, Jaydon Linsey, Alec Myrick, Kyra Rogers, Jada Sweeting, Morgan Usher; and Calhoun.

The top 8 were surprised with a trip to New York City for the remaining rounds of the competition taking place the next day. Starting bright and early, the students were treated to breakfast but tricked into a surprise round where a "random lady" introduced herself and asked to eat with them. The following rounds consisted of being interviewed by Ursula Burns, the chairman of Xerox and first African-American CEO of a Fortune 500 company as well as Hilary Neve, head of brand communications & strategic initiatives. Additionally, the final 4 students received a college admissions interview to gain vital communication and professional skills. After quite a long day, the final 4 students made a presentation to Atlantic Records executives by pitching an artist they should sign as if the person had never been signed to a label. Calhoun and Sweeting walked out as the top 2 students to deliver their case.

The next morning, Calhoun and Sweeting flew back to Atlanta for their final showdown. That evening, each finalist had to manage a restaurant, Newk’s Eatery-Midtown for a two-hour window by selecting a team of 5 RCA students to work with them as chefs, cashiers, and greeters. After being judged on criteria including sales during their time period, customer satisfaction surveys, manager’s vote, and employees’ vote, Mason Calhoun emerged victorious as the 2017 Amazing Shake winner. 

The annual Amazing Shake contest allows RCA to test students on fundamental professional skills, such as giving a proper handshake and maintaining eye contact. The competition consists of case-scenario stations set up around the school and throughout the city that every student must pass through, exercising proper etiquette, poise and confidence. Top performers advance to the next level of challenges until there is one overall winner.

Thank you to King & Spalding, Alston & Bird LLP, JE Dunn Construction, Newk's Eatery Midtown, and Delta Air Lines for sponsoring this year's Amazing Shake!