Fritel Enterprises, ‘You’re Hired!’
WOLFORD – Six teams from five schools did their best to impress judges in the third You’re Hired competition at Wolford School on Wednesday.
The goal was to build a business plan to minimize the spread of the flu in schools. Groups from Wolford, Rugby, Rolette, Starkweather and North Star high schools had about four hours to make a website and prepare a presentation showing why their business plan was the most viable.
The teams had to create a company name, logo and conduct an experiment with an ultraviolet light to determine the effectiveness of hand sanitizer and traditional soap and water handwashing. Students received statistics on the flu to understand how prevalent it is.
The winning team was Fritel Enterprises from Rolette. Fritel was awarded 131 points out of 180 for their comprehensive approach of combat packs. The packs included sanitizer wipes, personal tissue boxes and vitamins for students. The company would also fit each classroom with a humidifier and make flu shots more available. The judges also were impressed by the marketing Fritel planned with catchy signs about handwashing and cleanliness for the hallways and sticker charts for the youngest students.
“We kind of stumbled a little bit on the presentation, but we pulled together pretty well,” said Rolette freshman Linden Stave, a first-time participant. “I liked it. It was nice because they gave us the resources.”
Wolford School provided materials for poster boards, the experiments and classrooms with computers for each group. Students used a smart board for displaying powerpoint presentations and their websites. Judges included Eldon Borgen, the marketing director for KZZJ; Richard Arstein, an engineer from Rolette County; and Diane Overby, a farmer and co-owner of Verdi-Plus in Wolford.
Arstein was the stickler of the panel and asked each group if they knew the active ingredient in the sanitizers their companies would sell. He stumped each group with that question and whether they knew if their materials killed bacteria and viruses.
RHS group Personal Health Inc. took second with its idea of fitting school bathrooms with a high-intensity, narrow-spectrum ultraviolet light. The light would allow students to see if they washed their hands adequately. Personal Health Inc. would charge $79.99 for the products and installation, and $500 per day for free flu vaccination drives.
RHS senior Amber Jaeger was participating in You’re Hired for the second time. The previous competition challenged students to come up with a campaign against texting while driving.
“I feel like we were a lot more prepared this time because we knew what to expect,” Jaeger said. “We knew that we had to work all day and we had to come up with a lot of different ways to approach it.”
Wolford freshman Dillon Slaubaugh was one of two teams from the host school and provided the comedic relief in a goofy video showing how easily germs are spread. His company Fight the Flu tied Starweather’s Flu Fighters for third place.
“We spent most of our time on the video,” Slaubaugh said. “I liked the experience a lot better than just sitting in class. Working with my group was fun.”
Slaubaugh was joined by You’re Hired veteran and Wolford senior Alyssa Graber.
“I kind of thought this one was interesting because it was more in the medical field and I’m interested in that,” Graber said. “I think it’s a good experience because it’s not just sitting at your desk. It’s hands-on and something different. I think that’s good for learning.”
You’re Hired was developed as a master’s thesis project for University of North Dakota’s Chemical Engineering Program with partial funding from the National Science Foundation. Judges scored the teams on collaboration and understanding, critical thinking, experimentation, communication and creativity.
Wolford English teacher Joel Braaten organized the event and is pleased with the experience You’re Hired is offering area students.
“They enjoy the freedom to problem solve and explore it on their on,” Braaten said. “I think they figure out there’s a lot more to it when they’re finished than when they began. They understand the nature of the problem, the economics, the science involved and the advertising.”
Braaten said it’s exciting seeing students return and improve with their second competition.
“They’re a lot more efficient to get started,” Braaten said. “Ultimately, you’re left with how creative you are and how you use the data to come up with an idea.”
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