Bakersfield High School's Virtual Enterprise business team won first place in a national competition this month in New York. 


The Bakersfield High School team that took part in an international business competition in New York last week didn't merely win a first-place prize, the students may also have brought their fictional company to life.

The competition, Virtual Enterprise International, directs students to develop fictitious business plans and pitch them to industry leaders. BHS won the regional and state competitions before heading to New York this month.

A team from Centennial High School went to New York as well, and that local foursome took home a fourth-place prize, Kern High School District officials announced.

The BHS team, called Bumble, dreamed up a just-for-pretend business that sells honey, lip balm and other bee-related items to consumers, while renting bees to farmers to pollinate crops, said Ryker Solano, the team’s faculty coach.

“The declining bee population is a huge topic in the news right now,” Solano said, explaining why students chose to focus on bee-based products. “Without bees, we can’t pollinate the world’s crops.”

Bumble’s team members – Emma Young, Victoria Von Flue, Maddie Rivera, Sophia Caputo, and Griffin Peavler – created a sleek website, replete with bubblegum pink navigation bars and products with pricing. It includes a list of philanthropic deeds the company has taken part in, including building community gardens and stocking them with rented bees for pollination.

“This is not something people would really get into unless we educated people,” Solano said. “It’s a huge philanthropic outreach because you’re trying to remedy a situation.”

Then students put together a 20 page business plan detailing feasibility, goals and long-term strategy, Solano said.

“These are your future CEOs,” Solano said. “I know someday they’re going to do something very special in business.”

To be clear, the website and business are fictitious, and students didn’t actually take part in such philanthropic efforts. However, that could soon change. An entrepreneur from the Executives’ Association of Kern County approached the group about starting up a real-life Bumble.

“Hopefully something works out with it, and they get inspired, and if they pick up Bumble, that’s great,” Solano said. “Then we helped out in a small way.”

Centennial's fourth-place Team Pyramid — Will Marstall, Brenden Rancka, Ayden Cunningham, Mackenzie Hadsell and Ambar Herrera, and coached by Jaci Elliott — developed a company that promotes healthy lifestyles, pairing CrossFit with nutritional supplements.

Former superintendent honored

Retired Kern County Superintendent of Schools Christine Lizardi Frazier was honored Thursday by Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority during the organization’s graduation awards program.

Frazier, who retired in January, was awarded “for her unwavering support and dedicated service to Kern County Schools and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated,” said Ruscel Reader, a retired principal and member of the sorority.

The sorority presents scholarships to outstanding African American high school seniors and recognizes honor roll eighth grade graduates during its awards program each year. Since its inception in 1979, the sorority has gifted more than $350,000 to deserving students.

BCSD music program honored

The Bakersfield City School District has received national recognition for its music program for the fifth year in a row, district officials announced.

The district has been designated as one of the Best Communities for Music Education by the National Association of Music Merchants Foundation. Just 4 percent of districts across the nation received the honor this year.

“For many years, the District has provided an award-winning, exemplary music education program for its students,” said Michael Stone, coordinator for the Visual and Performing Arts Department. “The music faculty, parents, community, and administration are strong supporters of the music program, and are proud to again be recognized as a Best Community for Music Education by the NAMM Foundation.”

The designation is awarded to districts that demonstrate “outstanding achievement in efforts to provide music access and education to all students,” district officials said in a news release. Districts recognized are often viewed as models for other schools.

​Harold Pierce covers education and health for The Californian. He can be reached at 661-395-7404. Follow him on Twitter @RoldyPierce

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