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BMHS Students win 2022 Junior Achievement Titan Competition

BELOIT- A Junior Achievement (JA) Team with students from Beloit Memorial High School are the winners of the 2022 JA Titan National Virtual Competition. The competition is a “online simulation that allows teens to start and run a virtual business,” according to the Junior Achievement of Wisconsin news release.

Twenty-eight teams from across the nation competed in the two-day event held May 18 and 19.

Merrick Wales and Harrisdeep Sembhi were the winning team from Beloit Memorial High School. Wales is a senior and Sembhi is a sophomore at BMHS. Both Wales and Sembhi won an iPad Mini, won the JA Titan Rock County Regional and Wisconsin State championships and won $1,500 in scholarship money.

In the challenge, students compete as business CEOs in the phone industry. The teams compete for the chance to win prizes and be named the JA Titan of Business.

Beloit Memorial High School business teacher Chris Labrie said in the past regional competitions were held at Blackhawk Technical College. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, most competitions were virtual this year.

In this year’s competition, Wales and Sembhi had to act as CEOs of a cell phone company and compete against other teams. Labrie explained that the Beloit team had to make a variety of decisions about changing prices, how much they would spend on research, development and marketing.

Wales and Sembhi would get points when they were leading in a category. Beloit won the regional level and then went to the state competition in Sheboygan, which they won as well.

“Junior Achievement paid for the kids and me to have a hotel, and the competition was at Acuity Insurance, which is a cool, state of the art building,” Labrie said. “In fact, when we were driving by they didn’t know that was where we were going the next day and the kids were like, ‘Oh that’s a really cool, look at that building.’ Then I said were going there tomorrow and it was exciting for them.”

Sembhi and Wales won the state championship by a good margin, Labrie said. For the national competition they teamed up with two students from Appleton. The two students found out about Junior Achievement from Labrie’s economics class.

“They were really smart about this. They understood the concepts and they understood how things work, but their ability to actually think about what they were doing, just on the fly and into display intelligence was beyond memorizing a definition. It was so cool to watch,” Labrie said.

Kristin Loehr, Sembhi’s mother, is proud of her son and has seen firsthand how determined he can be.

“My son does a lot on his own. He reads books in the area that interests him. He decided to take up day trading,” Loehr said. “So, he was self-taught and he just picks up business principles and then its fed into him from his business teachers at the high school. I am so incredibly proud of him.”

Source: Beloit Daily News