Centennial High School's virtual business team took first place at a national business competition last week in New York City.
The school took five students to the National Business Plan Competition April 10 after placing second at the state competition held in November in Bakersfield.
"Oh my gosh it was quite exciting," said teacher and program coordinator Tamara Combs. "I was just so happy for the students because they put so much time and effort into preparing for it. I was extremely happy for them and very proud of them. They definitely earned it."
The National Business Plan Competition for public school students across the country measures global business expertise through written business plans and oral presentations. The event was held in New York City at McGraw Hill Financial and was sponsored by New York Life Foundation.
In addition to submitting business plans for scrutiny, students showcased and marketed the products and services their virtual businesses offered by engaging in commerce with peers in a simulated global marketplace.
Centennial's team won with a plan for a virtual business called Ripple, a benefit corporation that sold jewelry but had a philanthropic focus. The merchandise was made by some of the people the proceeds directly benefited.
The team's research included a trip to Costa Mesa to meet with the CEO of Sevenly, a real company that sells shirts to benefit charitable causes.
Ripple "CEO" Casey Hoover, a 17-year-old senior at Centennial, said everything about the run-up to the team's national win has been eye-opening and rewarding.
"There are a lot of different programs in high school that I find personally irrelevant," said the aspiring business major. "You just sit there and think, 'I am never going to use this.'
"But with virtual business, it's so different. I find myself thinking, 'I have to remember this because this is so important.' Along with budgets and business we learned about personal finance, which is something I'm going to need in real life. I feel like I'm leagues above other students who are interested in business."
The team members were Hoover, Jarrett Buntley, Kandis Cornelius, McCall Miller and Brooke Wheeler. Each received an iPad Mini and Skullcandy headphones as a prize, as well as a big team trophy.
The national competitors consisted of 22 teams from California, New Jersey, New York, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.
The winner was announced at the New York City International Trade Show, which was the culminating event of the week-long Youth Business Summit.