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Hoover High students net honors

Business roundup - Hoover High students net honors; Junior Achievement team wins national company of the year 
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NORTH CANTON – For the third time in four years, a Junior Achievement team from North Canton Hoover High has won national company of the year honors.

Finlit received the National JA Company of the Year award along with the opportunity to compete next June for the first Ralph de la Vega Global Competition Award. In that contest, the student-run company will compete against six other Junior Achievement companies from other continents for international honors.

The students developed a financial literacy board game for children called "Budget or Bust." The goal was to create a game to teach children skills that will help them in the future.

"You would have no idea that it was designed by high school seniors," said Mike Grady, business teacher at Hoover.

Junior Achievement began in 1919 as a program to teach youth about business. It's grown into a global, nonprofit program that helps prepare students for work, teaches business finance and nourishes entrepreneurship.

Hoover High School is part of the Junior Achievement of North Central Ohio. The program has been incorporated into high school business classes around the county. Business professionals join teachers and serve as advisers for the student-run companies.

The national competition included 15 teams from around the country. Fullfilled, a team from Lake High School, joined finlit in the national competition.

In addition to winning the company of the year award, finlit received the 2021 EY Innovation Award Award and the FedEx Global Possibilities Award. The company also was a finalist for two other national awards.

Grady has seen his students advance to the national competition in each of the past four years. Beelieve Inc. won the company of the year award in 2018, while Simple Starters won the honor in 2019.

When the Hoover team won in 2018, it was overwhelming, Grady said. That encouraged students in following years to step up and try to match the previous success.

Hoover's JA program is open to seniors. The students present and consider ideas for products, then develop their companies. Students select a CEO, and interview for positions at different companies.

Grady has 27 students in the program this year, and they divided into three different companies. All three had a successful year, with the companies generating combined revenue of $25,000. The different businesses competed among themselves through the year as the pushed for success.

"It was fun to watch," Grady said.

While Grady led in the classroom, volunteers Diane Pilati and Joe Rozsa served as mentors providing advice.

Credit goes to the students, Grady said. "It's not really what I do. There's the opportunity to give the kids help to start something of their own and run with it."

Students on the Fullfilled team worked by Gentlebrook to develop a journal with positive messages. Students considered the changes caused by the coronavirus pandemic and decided to develop a product that could bring positivity, said Aja Tompot, Lake High School business management career tech teacher.

This was the second year that Lake had a team participate in the national competition.

"We had an amazing team. Really hardworking and very passionate," Tompot said of the students who were part of Fullfilled.

Hoover students received received a $3,000 scholarship for winning company of the year honors, along with other prizes for the innovation award and the global possibilities award.

And finlit remains an active business while it prepares for next year's international competition.

Source: Edd Pritchard (, The Canton Repository

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