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After their recent selection for Alaska Business Week in Fairbanks, four Thunder Mountain High School students presented their experience from the recent Alaska Business Week to the Juneau Chamber of Commerce last week.
The state board has been trying to introduce students to the benefits of business before they leave high school said Wayne Stevens, president of the Alaska Chamber of Commerce. He said the program is an intensive discovery program focusing on leadership, teamwork and hands-on problem solving to introduce an entrepreneurial way of thinking.
"In the end, they come away a very different student," he said.
Travis Johnson, Cody Campbell, Marie Petersen and Tiana Massey were three of the 45 students from around the state who participated.
What they did at the program was work. The four agreed there was little free time. The days were busily spent learning and role-playing in what it takes to create a business.
"The whole week was training us what it would be like in the future with our own jobs and own businesses," said Johnson.
The students worked on everything from math skills to development to marketing. They designed their own products and learned what it would take to sell them.
"I'm a sound technician around town so thought I knew quite a bit about business, but turned out when we showed up I didn't," Petersen said.
Despite limited free time, the students said the fun of it made the week stand out, both the fun of doing something new and making new friends across the state.
Industry professionals lent their expertise to the students as well, such as representatives from the Sitka Chamber of Commerce, Boeing and State Farm. Alaska economist Neil Freed gave a presentation to the students about tracking the economy.
Stevens said he hopes programs like Alaska Business Week will help teach young people that business is beneficial, as many regard it as a bad thing due to the resource extractions that fuel many industries.
"We perceive that to be a very basic lack of understanding," he said.
He said the goal is to progress the program from 45 students to 150.
Contact reporter Jonathan Grass at 523-2276 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.