In 2010 our students participated in the Junior Achievement competition “La Compañía,” which requires students from different schools to create a company, sell its shares, obtain capital, assign a general manager, and create different departments. Our product, which we called Cushqui Pocket, consisted of wallets made from recycled milk and juice Tetra Pak cartons covered with specially designed fabric and stickers. One of our most important objectives was to be an ecological company maintaining a high profitability by using raw material donated and collected at school, which kept the cost of the wallet low. During the competition, the 19 members of the company produced 663 wallets and sold 621; the rest were donated. In the process of creating our company we realized how communication skills, teamwork, responsibility and tolerance were essential for the progress of our business.
As we wanted to be a socially responsible company we created a department in charge of carrying out social projects. We taught low-resource schools about global warming and the importance of saving water. Additionally, we supported an organization called “La madre Guápulo,” where we taught women how to make the wallets and sell them. Our goal was not only to grow as a company, but also to show people how creativity and organized work can create a quality product from used materials.
For the ten-week local competition, we created a business plan, submitted review reports and finally liquidated the business and returned the shares to the shareholders. Every company earned points based on presentations, media appearance, and detailed reports; in the end, the company that earned the most points won the competition. Thanks to the hard work of every member, our company obtained the fourth position in the national contest, and subsequently was selected to represent our country in Rio de Janeiro at the Americas Regional contest.
The international contest lasted for three days. We had icebreakers with the members of the other companies, interviews with the judges, seminars offered by representatives of Fedex, and time to present our product at a booth in a local shopping center. Something that was remarkable during the entire contest was the way the contestants related to each other, despite the competitive spirit of the event. It is hard to describe how enriching it was to meet people who came from very different parts of South America and the Caribbean. We shared personal experiences and a view of our countries’ cultures. After only a few hours together we could already feel we had become a big group of friends.
At the awards ceremony we were all very anxious. There were five prizes that would be designated. When they finally said, “And First Place goes to Cushqui Pocket from Ecuador!” we looked at each other and shed tears of pure happiness. Those tears were the satisfaction and pride of having placed this small country’s name, Ecuador, up high. ♦
Each fall, the seventh grade students in my Jewish social studies class begin the year by participating in the Jewish Court of All Time online simulation. JCAT is an innovative learning adventure that is a joint venture between the University of Cincinnati’s...[More]
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