View Mobile Site
  • Home
  • Marketplace
  • Community
  • Gas Prices


Ask the Expert

Signal Photos


Students propose tourism service

Junior high kids beat high schoolers in VIA STAR contest

Posted: December 1, 2008 8:52 p.m.
Updated: December 2, 2008 4:55 a.m.

Sierra Vista Junior High School VIA STAR team: Front row (left to right): Logan Stern, Shayne Hartigan, Sal Gonzalez, Harsitha Sakhamuri, and Connell Crocker. Back row: Lorraine Fulleman, Sierra Vista teacher and coach; Susan Reynolds, VIA STAR chairwoman; Jessica Freude, city of Santa Clarita; and Julie Weith, VIA chairwoman of the board.

Sierra Vista Junior High students won the 2008 VIA STAR product development contest with their project "SCV Sights to See!" detailing an innovative Santa Clarita touring service. Seventh-grader Logan Stern and eighth-graders Harsitha Sakhamuri, Sal Gonzalez, Connell Crocker, and Shayne Hartigan presented the project to an audience of business professionals on Nov. 18 at the Valley Industrial Association luncheon.

"STAR stands for Students Teaming to Achieve Results," said Susan Reynolds, chairwoman of VIA STAR.

"The project was for a team of students to be paired with a volunteer business. That team of students acted as junior business consultants; identifying a project, a product, or a process improvement that could improve that business's revenue."

Sierra Vista's team partnered with the city of Santa Clarita to develop "SCV Sights to See!" featuring three different tours - an entertainment tour, an adventure tour, and a historical tour.

"We decided to do a project on tourism because we don't really have that here and when you come to a new city the first thing you want to do is learn about the city and take a couple tours," Stern said. "Tourists (can) go to some of the first booming oil sites in our city, (visit) amusement parks, or learn more about nature and stuff like that."

Sakhamuri explained how the team chose interesting destinations for the tours.

"We targeted the places that people don't see when people come to Santa Clarita," she said. "We also set up a bus system for the tours, with a trolly for the history tour."

The students presented a video commercial and business plan at the luncheon and described the details of the three tours.

The commercial showed two boys looking at a map and trying to find a location to visit. Several friends appeared and suggested going on a tour.

"I enjoyed working on the commercial," Hartigan said. "Our first original draft of the commercial was just us talking about (the tours) and it was kind of plain, so after our first rough presentation we turned it into more of a interactive commercial that you see on TV."

The students created tour brochures for placement in hotels, amusements parks, and welcome centers.

They also built a Web site featuring additional information about the touring service.

"We copied the source code from the city's Web site to make it look like we were part of the same company," said Crocker. "It has hyper links that go back and forth between the city's Web site and our Web site. There are also hyper links to help (visitors) navigate through the Web site."

Gonzalez was involved in making the Web site user-friendly.

"I put pictures in the parts where they were needed and (edited) the wording on the Web site," he said.

The students all work in Sierra Vista's library. They learned how to use the library's equipment to fulfill the project's requirements.

"They normally run the circulation desk and shelve books but we wanted them to learn how to use the technology that we had at our library so they could assist other students," said Lorraine Fulleman, faculty coach.

Fulleman assigned each student a different portion of the project, based on individuals' strengths.

"At first they had no idea what this was all about, but once they started getting into it, I think that's how they were able to grow the most," she said. "They learned what was involved with a business plan, making a commercial, and promoting our product. It was great to see them come together as a team."

The students' final presentation exceeded all of VIA's expectations for the contest.

"We had nine teams that we judged, from fourth graders to high school kids," Reynolds said. "The high schoolers competed neck-and-neck with the gradeschoolers. When we watched these kids present on judging day, our jaws fell open. We looked around at each other shocked and amazed that it could be so awesome."

Students from Charles Helmers Elementary School took second place in the contest with their "By Kids, For Kids" module for the Santa Clarita Guide.

A team from West Ranch High School took third with a "Green Day" project to develop environmentally friendly commerce for the city of Santa Clarita Department of Economic Development.

"All balances of ages were able to come up with outstanding ideas for their business partners," Reynolds said. VIA is committed to providing educational opportunities for students of all grade levels.

For more information, visit


Commenting not available.
Commenting is not available.

Powered By
Morris Technology
Please wait ...