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UPDATED: Local students honored by VIA

Posted: March 26, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: March 28, 2011 1:47 p.m.

West Ranch High School students won the VIA Star business competition with their program “Project Prom,” providing senior prom formal attire to disadvantaged students. From left: Nicole Lowry, Ellen Jang, Anisa Siddiqui, teacher Linda Cox, Assistant Principal Debra Warren and Diana Meyer, VIA Star chair and president of Meyer Marketing Intellige...

The Valley Industry Association honored local students Monday for creating new business products or services in partnership with one of the many companies who are a member of VIA.

In a twist of the reality-TV series The Apprentice, local students come together each year to address business concerns and create new products or services for local member companies of the Valley Industry Association.

Teams of students compete against each other — but in the end, no one is fired — and all the young entrepreneurs are winners.

The West Ranch High School team won top honor for Best Overall Business Program with “Project Prom.” Team members Nicole Lowry, Ellen Jang and Anisa Siddiqui worked with the William S. Hart Union High School District as their client.

“Project Prom” provides formal attire and accessories to lower-income (families) within the district who couldn’t otherwise afford to attend their senior prom.

“The West Ranch team conducted a thorough SWOT analysis and focused on the four Ps in marketing management,” said Diana Meyer, chair of the VIA Star Committee and owner of Meyer Marketing Intelligence.

The four Ps of marketing covered by the students include product, price, placement and promotion.

The student team clearly outlines its mission at the website “Prom is an important event in the lives of American high school students. We believe that every student should have the opportunity to enjoy prom regardless of their economic status.”

The website directs people to sites where they can donate formal attire, providing contact information for students at each school who need assistance, recognizing the program’s business partners and announcing fundraisers to support the program.

“They also incorporated modern day marketing concepts by creating and implementing an integrated marketing communications plan that led to a viral marketing campaign.” Meyer said.

Teams from Valencia High School and Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic School.

The Valencia team, working with Powder Coating Plus of Valencia, presented a plan for creating consumer awareness, educating consumers of the benefits of using powder coating over traditional paint by utilizing search-engine optimization.

Valencia students Gabriel Sunga, Carlie Gropp, Nicole Lee and Elijah Valentine also proposed increasing capacity on the production line for custom consumer jobs.

OLPH students Nicolas Sandoval, Libby Alatorre, Willow Daniels, Gaby Pagador and Matthew Sirico worked with the city of Santa Clarita’s Economic Development Division.

The OLPH team created a social media network for youth and teens to include reviews on things to do in the Santa Clarita Valley including restaurants, trails, shopping and entertainment centers.

Local businesses

Local companies who sponsored this year’s VIA Star program were Bayless Engineering, Boston Scientific, city of Santa Clarita, College of the Canyons, High Impact Event Resources, LBW Insurance & Financial Services, Alicia Law of Lia Sophia Representative, Meyer Marketing Intelligence, NewMarket Careers, Point of View Communications, Powder Coating Plus, Residence Inn by Marriott, Six Flags Magic Mountain, UniFirst, U.S. HealthWorks, Valley Industry Association and the Valencia Auto Spa.

Contest judges were Diana Meyer, Meyer Marketing Intelligence; Sue Reynolds, NewMarket Careers; Janis Fiock, William. S. Hart Union School District; Randy Moberg, LBW Insurance & Financial Services; and Nicole Celentano, Conceptinet.

Serving on the VIA Star committee this year to oversee the contest were Diana Meyer, chair, Meyer Marketing Intelligence; Sue Reynolds, NewMarket Careers; Ron Rudzinski, William S. Hart Union School District; Janis Fiock, West Ranch High School; Mia Mae Bischoff, Boston Scientific; and Kathy Norris, Valley Industry Association.

West Ranch High School students earned the top honor Monday night at the Residence Inn by Marriott in Stevenson Ranch.

The VIA Star program connects education and business by pairing teams of three to five students with a teacher who serves as a team coach. The students then meet with a local company, serving as consultants to the business.

The students learn everything they can about the business, including its challenges and opportunities for success. The teams also study what kind of competition or advantage a given business has in the marketplace.

Students then brainstorm potential solutions, resulting in the development of new products or services which would improve a given company’s revenue growth.

The young student business consultants present their programs to their partner businesses for review and critiques.

Based on feedback, students then tweak their presentations before making their final presentations in front of a panel of judges from the education and business community. The judges select the winning entrants.

The students are pulling out their entrepreneurial spirits, thinking outside the box and bringing in some fresh ideas, Meyer said.

“What the winning team did exceptionally well was incorporate traditional marketing approaches with relevant modern day social media,” Meyer said.


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