|Nashville—On a typical business day in April, 20 companies sold products, developed product innovations, analyzed financial reports, implemented marketing plans and donated to charity. However, these companies were anything but typical—they were run by high school students and all business was performed virtually.
On April 24th, 60 students from eight different high schools in three Middle Tennessee counties competed in the JA Titan Business Challenge presented by Caterpillar Financial and hosted by Junior Achievement of Middle Tennessee (JA). In teams of 3, 20 student-led companies vied to become the most successful company.
Student participants hailed from Antioch High School, Cane Ridge High School, Glencliff High School, Hillwood High School, McGavock High School, and Maplewood High School in Davidson County; Pope John Paul II High School in Sumner County; and Mt. Juliet High School in Wilson County.
Cane Ridge High School took first place in the JA Titan Business Challenge. McGavock High School placed second and Pope John Paul II High School finished third. Teams scored points based on business strategy and overall company performance.
Prior to the event, students received the 7-session, JA Titan classroom-based program which introduces critical economics and management decisions through an interactive computer simulation and was taught by volunteers from Caterpillar Financial and FirstBank. Only the top team from each classroom was invited to compete in the JA Titan Business Challenge.
The winning team from Cane Ridge was mentored by Ritzon Fernandez of Caterpillar Financial Services, who taught the program in the classroom and then coached the students through their decision-making during the competition. He explained, “The JA Titan game is extremely intricate, from basics such as setting price, to deciding on capital expenditures, to monitoring the cost of holding inventory. You don’t realize how much the students have learned in such a short time until you watch them go in with a business strategy, make these complex decisions, and then continuously adjust their strategy according to their competition.”
Most of the students received the program through a business management or marketing class at school. Teacher Amanda Davoli of Antioch High School said she provides the JA Titan program to her students because “it is a natural fit with the business principles students are already learning” in her classroom.
“The JA Titan Business Challenge allows students to put together all the components of running a business and helps them understand how all these aspects combine to make a business successful,” said Junior Achievement of Middle Tennessee President Trent Klingensmith. “Not only does the JA Titan Business Challenge give students a chance to learn and interact with each other in a fun environment, it also gives a competitive advantage because they have a better understanding of how a business operates before they enter the workforce.”
Students agreed that the JA Titan experience will be helpful to them in the future. Kelsea Sullivan, a student at Cane Ridge High School, wants to major in business in college. She said, “The lessons I learned in class through JA Titan were applied in a business setting in the competition. I was really applying my learning.”
Rina Dervishi, also a student at Cane Ridge, said the competition “gave me an idea of how the real world will be and what will be important.”
JA Titan is just one of the classroom-based programs Junior Achievement of Middle Tennessee provides to students in Kindergarten through high school. These programs promote financial literacy, work readiness, and entrepreneurship through interactive, volunteer-led curriculum. More than 30,000 students will receive JA programs in their classrooms during the 2011-2012 school year.
About Junior Achievement of Middle Tennessee: Locally, Junior Achievement of Middle Tennessee, a franchise of Junior Achievement USA® (JA), provides in-school and after-school programs for students which focus on three key content areas: work readiness, entrepreneurship, and financial literacy. Through a dedicated volunteer network, Junior Achievement offers classroom-based programs, JA BizTown, JA Job Shadow, and the JA Company Program to students in Kindergarten through high school. Founded in Middle Tennessee in 1957, Junior Achievement now operates in 18 counties in the region, reaching over 30,000 students annually in over 2,000 classrooms throughout Middle Tennessee. For more information, visit www.janash.com.
About Junior Achievement USA® (JA) Junior Achievement is the world's largest organization dedicated to giving young people the knowledge and skills they need to own their economic success, plan for their future, and make smart academic and economic choices. JA programs are delivered by corporate and community volunteers, and provide relevant, hands-on experiences that give students from kindergarten through high school knowledge and skills in financial literacy, work readiness and entrepreneurship. Today, JA reaches four million students per year in more than 120 markets across the United States, with an additional 6.5 million students served by operations in 117 other countries worldwide. Visit www.ja.org for more information.