MADISON, NJ — The West Orange High School (WOHS) Virtual Enterprise Team “Zo” was recently awarded first place for sales and third place for business plan at the Virtual Enterprise International (VEI) Competition held at Fairleigh Dickinson University.

Team Zo's virtual product line includes olive-oil-based hair and skin-care products, attractively packaged and advertised in on the team’s website. The site also includes a mock order form, special bundle pricing and detailed information on the benefits of olive oil, not only for skin and hair, but for diet, lifestyle and overall health as well. The product logo and slogan is pictured above.

As a result of the ongoing success of the Virtual Enterprise program at WOHS, Team Zo currently boasts a number of acknowledgments that are making WOHS a name in WEI, including:

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Awards and Commendations:

*Top 100 firms in network

*Firm Branding Package Competition = top 10% (VEI network)

*Firm Pitch Competition = Honorable Mention (VEI network)

*Sales Pitch Competition = First Place (State Level)

*Business Plan Competition = Third Place (State Level)

Students involved at the high school have reported that they find the course challenging yet fun and fulfilling. 

“VE has given me more public speaking experience and confidence than I ever had or could probably get from a traditional classroom setting,” said senior Samantha Rhew, chief executive officer for Team Zo.

Fellow senior Samara Charles, Creative Team Associate for Team Zo, added that she likes “the positive environment.”

“Even though we are all different learners and all have different skills, we make a great team,” said Charles.

According to VEI, the program provides “a solution for schools to offer all students meaningful skills-based career experiences.”

“Through our hands-on, task-based curricula, students test-drive potential careers and develop in-demand skills and competencies that post-secondary institutions and employers are seeking,” the program description states. “By managing the day-to-day operations of a company, students not only develop business skills and an entrepreneurial mindset, but they also identify career pathways that align with their interests, talents and aspirations.” 

VEI works with schools and districts to implement a college credit honors class that lasts the full school year and which provides students with "an authentic, collaborative business and entrepreneurship experience through its live global business simulation model." 

This is only the second year that WOHS has participated in the program. Last year, the team took Third Place in the FDU competition.

"I learned a lot more knowledge pertaining to the inner workings of a company and also about cooperation," said student Schmidt Norelus.

Business teacher Maria Frangos, VE course coordinator and leader of Team Zo, integrates traditional learning with cutting-edge strategies to run a very realistic virtual business on an international level. 

“No other course I know of is like VE,” said Supervisor of Career Education and Library Science Nancy Mullin. “Stepping into our VE classroom is more like stepping into a startup business with 16 entrepreneurs rather than walking into a traditional classroom. The energy and desire to succeed is electric and makes the challenges of the course worthwhile.”

Mullin added that she is “tremendously proud of the students” and Frangos for “once again making WOHS a strong contender in the state competitions based on the accomplishments of Zo.”

“Winning first place in sales and third place in the business plan competition in the state is a huge undertaking,” she said. “Our success wouldn’t be possible without our business mentors from the West Orange Chamber of Commerce, the support we receive from the West Orange Education Foundation as well as Mayor Parisi and the support of the board of education.”

Team Zo will next compete in the VEI competitions at The Staten Island Trade Fair and the International Trade Fair.

Business Plan Presentation Team

 

Sales Team

Maria

Winning

 

Andrea

Kendrick

Emily

Baker

 

Iwinosa

Obasuyi

Rheanna

Daniel

 

Jonathan

Salazar

Samantha

Rhew

 

Herva

Kana

Ismail

Taylor

 

Samara

Charles

 

 

 

Amiri

Wilson

 

 

 

Mya

Coleman

 

 

 

Justin

Vera

 

 

 

Adam

Portilla

 

 

 

Schmidt

Norelus

 

 

 

Anne

Innocent

*The business plan team also sold

when they were done with their

presentation