Virtual Enterprise competitors go virtually anywhere


From left to right: Lyall Kehley (10) and Maren Blakeney (11) are the Virtual Enterprise competition winners from Guilford

   The Virtual Enterprise competition is a business-themed competition that took place virtually on March 24, 2021. The competition is hosted by East High School, and schools in the Rockford area competed against each other. Guilford placed number one in two out of the four events.

   The competition has four categories to participate in: the advertisement, a website, a business sales pitch, and a business card category. The students would use any of the four categories to create something using a fake company that the class came up with called Joffur Clothing.

   “The students enrolled in VE created a business early in the school year,” said Mr. Pete Riportella, business education teacher. “From there they designed business cards, a website, and a logo for each of the firms.”

   The students from both Virtual Enterprise classes voted on their favorite projects from other students. After proofreaders went over each project, the students then chose who would present the projects to the judges at the competition.

   “Students chosen practiced their sales pitch with me and fellow classmates,” said Mr. Riportella. “In addition, Mr. Kilduff, Mr. Rose, and Mr. Yerk all worked with the students and provided feedback on ways to improve their performance.”

   On the day of the competition, practice paid off because two students came back as winners. Those students were Maren Blakeney, a junior who won for her business elevator pitch, and Lyall Kehely, a sophomore who won for his business card.

   “I felt really proud when I found out that I won,” said Blakeney. “It was something that I had been practicing for a while, so winning was very satisfactory.”

   While many people find competitions to be nerve-wracking, some students were very mellow about the competition and participated because they like the thrill of competing in the competition.

   “To be honest I enjoy competitions,” said Kehely. “I didn’t go into it trying to be the best. I just did it for fun.”

   The wins did not come easy, however. The students practiced relentlessly with Mr. Riportella and other staff members to make sure that when they went up against the judges they knew what to say.

   “Mr. Riportella had us practice in front of various teachers and each other,” said Blakeney, “so I was very prepared.”

   One of the reasons that the students did so well was because most of them seem to enjoy and are proud about their projects in the Virtual Enterprise class.

   “I think Guilford was successful because the students were enthusiastic about participating in the different competitions,” said Mr. Riportella. “They showed the rest of the participants the type of students that are here at Guilford. This was an opportunity to do something different in this not-so-normal school year. The students used their creativity when designing the items and they practiced quite a bit leading up to the sales pitch.”

   Even the contestants know that their work stood out from the crowd because of the amount of care and time they put into their projects.

   “I practiced for it a lot, and I’m a pretty good writer, so my wording was very convincing,” said Blakeney.

   The students in Virtual Enterprise for the most part reported that they enjoyed the competition. When asked, Kehley described the experience as, “One hell of a ride.”