Thursday, 14 June 2018 06:49

SCCHS Business Club celebrates a successful year

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SCCHS business teacher Cindy Lowe speaks at the business club celebration, May 31. SCCHS business teacher Cindy Lowe speaks at the business club celebration, May 31.

The Swift Current Comprehensive High School (SCCHS) Business Club concluded a year of achievements with a lunch hour celebration, May 31.

The most important success of the year happened in early May during the Saskatchewan Business Teacher's Association (SBTA) conference and high school business case competition at the Edwards School of Business in Saskatoon, where the SCCHS Business Club won the coveted School of the Year title.
The Swift Current students scored the highest combined number of points from the three categories of competition. They won first place in entrepreneurship, second spot in school social, and fourth place in finance.
“It was an unreal year,” SCCHS business education teacher Cindy Lowe told the Prairie Post. “This was our third year running the club full out and we’ve got business school of the year.”
She considers this achievement to be even more noteworthy because the entrepreneurship and finance categories at the SBTA competition are not taught formally at SCCHS.
“The students have learned this through extra curricular meetings and lunch and learns and in my classes and in after school stuff,” she said. “We did six different debate tournaments, which was more than we have ever done. We went to Calgary and won first and second place there. So it was a pretty wild year.”
The club had a total of 42 events during the past eight months, of which 25 were outside the school. A certain highlight was the networking event with local businesses in November. The 1st annual Business Connect banquet for business leaders and young entrepreneurs was hosted by the Swift Current & District Chamber of Commerce. It was attended by 23 business club students along with 17 Great Plains College students.
“The business community gave great feedback on being able to talk to these students and helping them network,” she said. “We had Grade 9 students there that were super nervous, but they did it. They put themselves out there. Even if they didn’t talk a lot, they’re learning that the networking piece is so important in business.”
Lowe organized the first SCCHS business alumni panel this year. She previously taught at the college for seven years and she has been teaching at the high school for five years.
“I have almost 12 years worth of business alumni students that I try to get back in and talk to my current students about what they’re doing, what schooling they took and their career paths,” she said. “So I had staff from RBC, MNP, the health region and current university students to give tips to our current students about what life is like after high school.”
Students had an opportunity to sharpen their skills during the Edwards mini case competition at the school. This new event was offered by the University of Saskatchewan’s Edwards School of Business. A presenter will visit schools on invitation to do a workshop on how to construct a case and students then must work through a case and make a presentation.
“That was really fun,” she said. “The kids learned a lot, and it’s right here in Swift Current. We don’t have to go anywhere, it doesn’t cost us anything. They’re willing to come in and put the time in to help train our kids.”
This was good preparation for the 2nd annual Innovation case competition, which was hosted for business club students at Innovation Credit Union in Swift Current.
Another highlight of the year was a trip to Calgary, where seven students from the SCCHS business club participated in the Ivey Business School’s case competition.
“That was really a unique experience,” she noted. “Typically we work within our school with other students, but at this one they were mixed up with students from other schools, which presents some challenges of course when you’re working with new people. I thought the experience was valuable for them to have, because you don’t always work with people you know or know well in a business environment.”
According to Lowe the busy schedule of events and competitions during the year played a role in the club’s success at the SBTA competition that enabled the students to win the School of the Year title.
“I think a lot of this practice and training contributed to winning, because we had put in so much extra time preparing the students and they have put in that time learning and that translated into success at our final event,” she said.
She never thought the business club will have so much success in such a short period of time, but she felt confident there was an appetite for business education. The club started informally three years ago with six students and became a formal club at the school in 2015 with around 13 members. Over 50 students paid a fee to join the club this year. There were 25 very active members throughout the year, while between 20 and 30 members attended almost every lunch and learn.
“I really value the community and parent support as much as anything, because they're reaffirming what we're doing here, and I see it translate to successful kids down the road,” she said. “That's why I incorporate alumni so much back, because ultimately my goal as a teacher is to create successful future employees. It really has succeeded my expectations, for sure.”

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Matthew Liebenberg


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