Local high school students ace business competition

Photo courtesy of Dale Johnston
SPRINGFIELD High school students from around the area presented their business plans to a panel of judges at an annual competition recently at Springfield Technical Community College (STCC).

First place went to Hajrija Guster from Pathways to Technology High School located in the greater Hartford area for her Green Cleaning business. Her classmate Vincent Moore took second place for Alten Designs, a visual communications business.
(left to right) Third place winner Samantha Grodsky, judge Edgar Tarrats and fellow third place winner Lexi Tariff of Longmeadow High School.

Longmeadow High School students Lexi Tariff and Samantha Grodsky won third place with their custom T-shirt design business. Receiving Honorable Mention were David Melnichuk and David Heinbokel from Agawam High School, Robert Knight and Jessica Cavallini from Minnechaug Regional High School and Kelsey Benoit from Westfield Vocational High School. Each student participating received $100. First, second and third place winners received $1,000, $750 and $500 respectively.

The mother of one of the competitors, Sharon Tariff, commented, "What a wonderful experience for the young entrepreneurs involved. My husband and I thoroughly enjoyed watching each and every one of the presentations. I think it's terrific. It was a very proud moment for us as parents."

The volunteer judges brought their business expertise to the competition and had the difficult task of choosing from a very talented group of students. They were Edgar Tarrats, Small Business Administration; Bill McCollough, SCORE Counselor; former winner Kate Bielunis, Liberty Mutual Sales Representative; Gail Olmsted, Associate Professor, STCC; Paul Thornton, Associate Professor, STCC; and Heather Van Sickle, Executive Director, National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship.

The business plan competition represents an excellent opportunity to showcase local talent and highlight what area high school students are learning in their entrepreneurship classes through-out the school year. It was sponsored by STCC's School of Business and Information Technologies as part of their Young Entrepreneurial Scholars program. For more information about all the programs offered at STCC, visit stcc.edu/sbit.


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