Hundreds of students from the three public high schools in St. Joseph on Thursday took part in the High School for Business “Biz Camp.”
“Each of the local high schools in town offers a three-year business program, called the High School of Business,” said Joey Hendrix, a business teacher at Benton High School. “And it’s about entrepreneurship, it’s about kids learning how to operate a business and everything that that entails.”
“And what we’re trying to do is give all of the students at the three high schools a chance to work together, for once, rather than be at the separate buildings,” Hendrix said.
Central High School Business and Marketing Teacher Lisa Beavers says the students are up to the challenge of working together with school rivals.
“We think it’s great when all three of the public high schools can come together,” Beavers said, “and the students can work with people who aren’t their best friends, because in the real world they going to be working with people their age, different ages, different races, different genders…different all around.”
Sophomores in the first year of the program took part in a “dress for success” competition. Benton High School Sophomore Ashleigh McClurg says she enjoyed it.
“It gave us a little information about what would be good to wear to a job interview, what’s appropriate for whatever field you go into,” McClurg said.
Fellow Benton Sophomore Mally Vick agreed. “I think it was really good, and I think it helped us when it comes to job interviews,” Vick said. “So, I will change the way I dress and try to look more professional.”
Juniors in the second year of the program took part in a challenge event in which teams were given a specific scenario and had to come up with business ideas to address that scenario. The seniors took part in some team-building exercises, as well as making their final plans to open a mini business at each of the schools. The seniors were able to meet and get advice from local business leaders who acted as mentors during the session.
The Superintendent of the St. Joseph School District likes the idea of collaboration between the schools. Dr. Robert Newhart called it an excellent endeavor for the kids to get involved with…
“In order to get along, or be successful, you have to work with others,” Newhart said. “We do develop a lot of pride at each high school, Benton, Lafayette and Central, but when you bring them all together they typically unite, and realize that they’re part of the St. Joseph school system, part of the St. Joseph community, and they know that they have to work together , and will have to continue to work together in various projects or endeavors.”
“It’s good, hands-on experience,” he said. “It exposes them to various things, universities, ideas, creativity, the direction they want to pursue in life, a career. That’s it’s all about, and what we’re trying to get them to understand is that it’s a big world out there, and the potential is unlimited.”
The “Biz Camp” was held Thursday at EmPowerU in downtown St. Joseph. More than 250 students took part.