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Chi-Hi team wins JA Challenge
Finishing in first place in the JA Challenger were, from left, Chippewa Falls High School students Brandon DeMars, Matt Leis, and Evan Clark. Spectrum Industries, Inc. sponsored the team and Dean White, right, from Spectrum Industries guided the students to success.

A group from Chippewa Falls Senior High School won first place in the Junior Achievement Business Challenge event on Wednesday, March 3, at the Ramada Inn Convention Center in Eau Claire.

Students Brandon DeMars, Matt Leis, and Evan Clark each won $600 scholarships provided by the CHS Foundation and the William J. & Gertrude R. Casper Foundation. Spectrum Industries, Inc. sponsored the team and Dean White from Spectrum Industries guided the students to their success.

The JA Challenge pits 36 teams against one another in an attempt to run the most successful business in just five hours. More than 110 high school students from northwestern Wisconsin took part in the computer-simulated business strategy competition.

Participating this year were also high school teams from McDonell Central, Altoona, Boyceville, Elk Mound, Fall Creek, Eau Claire Memorial, Menomonie, Eau Claire North, Eau Claire Regis, Barron, Blair-Taylor, Chetek, Durand, Hayward, Rice Lake, Thorp, Cadott, Augusta and Bruce. The Rice Lake team finished second in the competition.

Local business professionals from more than 30 businesses and organizations will mentor three-person student teams and teach them how to make business decisions in a “real world” environment.

Each team will develop the same fictional product called the “Holo-Generator” that displays 3-D, holographic music videos in the palm of your hand. During the tournament, the teams make business decisions: choosing product prices, developing marketing strategies, maintaining inventory volumes, distributing charitable giving, and determining research and development investment. Students learn from professionals with expertise in these areas.

In addition, the Altoona High School team was awarded a $750 scholarship ($250 per student) for their efforts in designing a print ad to market their product.

Over the past seven years, JA has given students $53,100 in scholarships thanks to the businesses that continually sponsor the event. This year, students received a total of $4,650 in scholarships.

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