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High School Companies Prepare for Competition

Students with 13 companies will be participating next week in the 2022 Junior Achievement Entrepreneurship Challenge & Expo, better known as the JA Expo.

The day-long event April 21 celebrates the work and entrepreneurial initiative shown by students participating in Junior Achievement.

Over the past several months student-operated companies have developed and started selling products.

Since December, several of the companies have been selling their products at the Hartville MarketPlace.

Seth Coblentz, general manager of Hartville MarketPlace, is a Junior Achievement classroom volunteer at Lake High School. He said he's been impressed with the energy and effort students put into the program.

"You can tell their passion in how hard they work to succeed," he said.

Junior Achievement's company program allows students to participate in hands-on experimental learning opportunities where the start and manage their own companies, said Lori McCleese, president of JA of North Center Ohio. The program supplements high school business courses.

"It's truly amazing to watch students grow more confident, sharpen professional skills, and tackle real issues related to running a business," McCleese said.

JA Expo is at Kent State University Stark campus in Jackson Township. Participating students attend Jackson, Lake, GlenOak and Hoover high schools in Stark County, and Cloverleaf High School in Medina County.

Judges are reviewing annual reports produced by each company, and they will hear a business presentation from the companies next week.

A separate group of judges will evaluate work on trade show booths the companies will set up at the expo.

First, second and third place awards will be presented, as well as awards for innovation, financial performance and other categories.

Several of the companies already have a competitive edge after making presentations last month in the Stark Tank program through Strengthening Stark.

Junior Achievement of North Central Ohio covers 16 counties, including Stark and Summit.

It's one of eight JA groups in the state, forming in 2019 when the Canton and Akron programs combined.

Source: The Independent

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