By Melissa Heaton
Pasco High’s Purple Powerhouse team earned bragging rights, cash and a traveling trophy after showcasing their business savvy during Junior Achievement’s 10th annual High-Tech Business Challenge.
[blockquote quote="Connecting students to the ‘real world’ of business – that is one of our priorities." source="Dana Munn, program specialist with Junior Achievement of Washington" align="right" max_width="300px"]
The team was among 56 students and 20 teams from Pasco, Kennewick, Richland and College Place school districts who competed in the business simulation contest April 25 in Kennewick.
The students had to take on the role of corporate business leaders to make decisions affecting the profitability and sustainability of their virtual company.
The nonprofit Junior Achievement, founded in 1919, strives to educate and inspire young people to achieve financial literacy, become prepared for the work force and embrace entrepreneurship to succeed in a growing global economy.
The contest’s goal is to give students an understanding of financial literacy, work readiness and what it takes to be entrepreneurs.
“Connecting students to the ‘real world’ of business – that is one of our priorities. And we accomplish that by connecting them to real business people from the community who share their real-world experiences. JA’s curriculum provides hands-on experiential learning and valuable skills our students need to be successful in today’s global economy,” said Dana Munn, program specialist with Junior Achievement of Washington.
The Pasco High team’s mentor was Brad Anderson, general manager of Total Energy Management, and a first time JA classroom volunteer. Carol Kauer is the team’s teacher at Pasco High.
The competition is based on JA’s Titan program, which is taught in the high schools by local community and business volunteers. Top students from competing teams in schools that had JA Titan programs during the current school year were invited to attend.
Members of the Pasco High team are Jose Garcia, Macario Yniquez, Elroy Lara Alvarado, Nohely Ceja.
Team members each received $200 donated by sponsor Washington River Protection Solutions. The team also received a traveling trophy with their name on it.
The team’s win in the regional competition earned them a seat to compete at the national level on May 10. They didn’t advance to the championship round but had a strong showing against the 47 other teams by placing second in the initial round of play. Only first-place teams advanced.
“The students were shrewd businessmen and woman and fought hard to the end. I was impressed to see how much they learned about operating their business and how their decisions affected the outcome. They were real entrepreneurs,” said Susan Fillafer, regional director of Junior Achievement of Washington.
The program teaches students how to manage six key business decisions: product price, production levels, marketing expenses, research and development costs, capital investment levels and charitable giving.
Bethany Cooper 17, of Kennewick, High School, said she learned a lot about capital investment while prepping for the competition.
“A lot of people don’t pay attention to it and don’t mess with it. Looking at it early is important,” said Cooper, a member of the Sky High Generators team.
Her teammate, Alyssa Schultheiss 17, also of Kennewick High School, agreed, saying she learned how “undervalued capital investment is.”
CJ O’Connor of Richland High School was the winner of the CEO of the Year award.
After the first round, the two teams with the highest performance in their business competed for the award. Teams then picked one student to represent them in the competition to discuss their strategies and best practices of the game.
Consolation winners were Team Citrus of Pasco High and Sky High Generators of Kennewick High School.
Halfway through the competition students met with Tri-City area business CEOs and leaders to learn about their careers and path to success and to ask questions. Among those attending were: Peggy McCullough, program director for Bechtel National Inc.; Amy Basche program integration manager for Washington River Protection Solutions; Khris Beyer, owner, Real Centric Solutions; and Scott Keller, executive director for the Port of Benton.
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