For Coal Ridge High School students, business is a game | PostIndependent.com
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For Coal Ridge High School students, business is a game

John Gardner
jgardner@postindependent.com
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Chad Spangler/Post IndependentFive Inc. team members " from left DaLin Murphy, Rafael Fabela and Halee Young " react as their team takes over first place in a simulated business game inside of Coal Ridge High School in New Castle on Thursday morning.
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PEACH VALLEY, Colorado ” Rafael Fabela threw his hands in the air in celebration of his company, Five Inc., beating out his four competitors in terms of quarterly performance. Fabela’s business partners, Halee Young and DaLin Murphy, celebrated, too, as they took over the top spot on the board.

“We were fourth, then we jumped to second, and now we are in first,” Fabela said.

At least for this business quarter. But business quarters are mere minutes for Five Inc. They participated in a business simulated online game in Coal Ridge High School business teacher Dan O’Meara’s class on Thursdays. The program, JA Titan, is a partnership with Junior Achievement.



The idea, obviously, is to teach students about the world of business, but how it’s taught is very different from what O’Meara is used to.

“What’s nice about the program is that it simulates business quarters, three months, and by seeing the numbers they can make a plan, initiate it, and see the results,” O’Meara said. “When I learned it, it was all theoretical. Here they can make their own numbers and see their own results and adjust accordingly with their own plan.”



Students in O’Meara’s class were split into groups, each with a business that would make the same product as the others. That product was a fictional Holo-Generator, similar to the one used by CNN during the November General Election.

Student businesses simulate business quarters and monitor their performance while deciding on production, marketing, capital investment, research and development, and charitable giving. And it’s a pretty accurate model, according to Junior Achievement volunteer and board member Susan Blizzard.

“It’s as close as it can get through a real simulated environment,” Blizzard said.

Blizzard is also CEO of Blizzard Internet Marketing Inc. in Glenwood Springs and was the volunteer instructor in O’Meara’s classroom.

“That is how Junior Achievement works,” said Junior Achievement Director Amy Spradlin. “We pull community and educators together, and using the experiences of the community member to enhance the classroom program is a very positive aspect of what we do.”

It worked pretty well for O’Meara’s class.

“It’s fun, and the kids enjoy it,” O’Meara said. “You notice how they start to compete against each other and how they just want to go, go, go, and see the results and do more.”

The biggest aspect being learning.

“We’re learning how to run a business,” Fabela said. “How to go up against other companies who are selling the same product and we are trying to sell the most at the better price.”

And this program will let them know if their strategy is working or not, in a matter of seconds.

“Instead of just talking about someone else’s choices, what they did, what they got, and what they ended up doing, these kids get to experience that firsthand,” O’Meara said. “Just like in life, business works the same way in that you have to balance the business for it to be successful.”

Contact John Gardner: 384-9114

jgardner@postindependent.com


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