Business Students Propel Ford City to ‘Challenge’ Victory

JUNIOR ACHIEVEMENT COMPETITION WINNERS Two teams of students from Ford City High School dominated at the Junior Achievement Titan Business Challenge Grand Championship event held at Point Park University on Wednesday, May 15. One of the two teams – Aaron Shaner, Joe Cippel and Jacob Scoccimerra (the first three students on left) took 1st place while another team -Sahara Dickison, Cody Atherton and Neil Hickman(the next three)- earned third place. (submitted)

by Jonathan Weaver

If any Armstrong County businesses look to develop a hologenerator in the future, they may want to consider consulting with a group of Ford City High students to maximize profit.

Seniors Jacob Scoccimerra, Aaron Shaner and Joe Cippel had the highest performance index of nearly two dozen teams and won the Junior Achievement Titan Business Challenge Grand Championship held at Point Park University Wednesday, May 15.

Teams of three had 16 five-minute quartiles to take their company – in this case “Tomk1 Industries” – named due to Business, Computer and Information Technology Instructor Lisa Tomkiewicz – to the top based on simulated values of price, production, research and development, investments and charitable donations.

“The most efficient way to get your performance index up – what they judged you on – was to get the cost of your item and how much you’re making balanced so you could sell more and get more profit,” Shaner said.

It was only the third year Ford City High participated in the event. Teams had to be invited after high scores at the regional competition, held in March at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

“The idea is that the further you go, the quicker you have to make decisions and not go bankrupt,” Tomkiewicz said.

To prepare, the winning team practiced during extra time in class and individually at least once per week. Shaner explained that the formula the team used at IUP to qualify for the championship did not earn as high of a performance index as the one he used in practice, so the team decided to switch gears midway through the competition – and came back from as far as seventh place to each win a $100 Best Buy gift card and $3,000 scholarship to Point Park University. The team also won a trophy.

“Depending on how much you invest determines how much you can make. Joe and Jake didn’t think that was a good idea because you have to keep your expenses and income around the same because you don’t want to go bankrupt,” Shaner said. “But (during the first round), we got to where we were getting more orders than we could make, and weren’t making as much money as we could.”

Both students available Wednesday said the competition was exciting and fueled by friendly competition among the teams in their computer lab.

Even with Shaner planning to attend Clarion University of Pennsylvania for accounting and Scoccimerra accepted into Penn State – Behrend for chemical engineering, both said they might consider operating their own businesses in the future.

“It’s a possibility,” Shaner said.

If that winning team isn’t available, Ford City Seniors Sahara Dickison, Cody Atherton and Neil Hickman scored 3rd place in the competition and might be willing to help. They also received prizes: including $25 Best Buy gift cards, trophy and a $1,000 scholarship award each to Point Park University.

Teams were hand-selected by teachers.