Granville County students get business experience

Posted January 31, 2011 5:00 a.m. EST
Updated January 31, 2011 6:34 p.m. EST

— A pilot program at two Granville County schools is bringing the business world into the classroom.

“My business is Cybershock. We sell electronics,” said Matthew Hicks, a senior at J.F. Webb High School who is taking part in the Virtual Enterprises program. “We had to create our own business plan. The accounting part of the business plan. It's all real."

The students created two businesses. They log online to sell or trade with other virtual companies around the world.

Students in the program have to apply for the job they want in accounting, marketing, human resources or administration. They will serve in that position all year.

“It is a program that engages students’ minds,” said June Atkinson, superintendent of the North Carolina Board of Education.

Atkinson stopped in Friday to see how the program works. She said she hopes other schools see it's a success and adopt it.

“We want to increase our graduation rate in North Carolina, and programs such as this will engage students. It will give them a sense of belonging. It will give them an understanding of what they need in business,” she said.

While the money they manage isn’t real, the life lessons and skills learned are.

Student CEO Tyler Overton said the program has broadened his horizons in what he wants to do in life.

“Instead of just being an engineer, I'm thinking of going into business after taking this class,” he said.

The program is also being offered at South Granville High School in Creedmoor.

There are about 3,000 virtual enterprise classrooms around the world. The program started in New York City high schools and is based on the European concept of practice firms.