A fake music label recently brought Riverview High a big prize.
A team of students from the school was named the winner of the first PricewaterhouseCoopers’ High School Business Challenge. On Feb. 28, members of the PwC Charitable Foundation presented the school with a $40,000 check, which is earmarked for the promotion of financial literacy as well as the advancement and support of Riverview High’s business program.
“When I got the call notifying me that we’d won, I’d stepped outside of my room to talk on my cell phone,” said Nancy MacLauchlan, business and marketing instructor at Riverview High. “I remember screaming and running to tell my principal.”
The winning team was comprised of freshmen Cherrell Campbell, Damian Santiago, Tyliah Williams and junior Chad Rivera. A PwC judging panel selected the Riverview High group as the winners from more than 168 nationwide teams, which represented 654 students from 14 schools.
“The high school business challenge is part of PwC’s ‘earn your future’ initiative,” said Mike Quackenbush, managing partner for PwC Tampa. “There is certainly some pride for PwC Tampa for our mentors and a level of pride for the youth in our community.”
MacLauchlan learned of the 10-week contest in September through the school district and enlisted the students in her business ownership class. The challenge involved creating a comprehensive business plan for a fake music label using a lesson plan provided by PwC and the guidance of the company’s mentors.
“It was a challenge because what I typically teach in the first semester feeds into what they needed to do to create their business plan,” MacLauchlan said. She added her class, which is comprised of 22 students, split into five teams and spent all of October and November working on their business plans and submission videos before the Dec. 3 deadline.
The winning entry, for a fictitious hip-hop label called Cut Above, was selected for its emphasis on clean, original music and charitable endeavors, as well as its solid business plan.
Each school received a $10,000 grant for participating, and every student received a $20 iTunes gift card, according to MacLauchlan. The students on the winning team, however, got $50 iTunes gift cards and iPads, while the school earned that additional $40,000 check.
MacLauchlan said the money had already been used to purchase interactive student response systems, and plans to acquire Biz Kid$ and other financially-focused DVDs. There will also be “a few thousand dollars” used to support the school’s National Technical Honor Society (NTHS), Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA) and Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) chapters. She also hopes to establish a stock market club for the fall semester.
“I met with our principal and we felt very strongly that we needed to share some of that with the rest of the school,” MacLauchlan said. “It’s actually pretty hard to spend $50,000 when you have these sorts of parameters, but it’s a good problem to have.”