News Feature

Originally published in Island Ad-Vantages, February 21, 2013
Mariners team places first in region, sixth in state in Junior Achievement competition

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Members of the Mariners1 team

Members of the Mariners1 team check their progress during the Junior Achievement Titan Challenge on Wednesday, February 13 at Maine Maritime Academy. From left, Daniel Fill (seated), an MMA student overseeing the team’s progress, Isaac Vaughn, mentor and coach Rich Howe and Justin Eaton.

Photo courtesy of Ready by 21

by Jessica Brophy

Businesses have to make many decisions on a regular basis. How much should be invested in research and development? How much in marketing? How many products should be produced? What price should a product be sold for?

Such decisions allow a company to flourish—or fail.

A Junior Achievement statewide competition called Titan Challenge offered students the chance to participate in a day-long virtual business competition asking students to make those decisions using a computer program to simulate outcomes. The event took place on February 13. Nearly 100 teams from 33 high schools were hosted in three sites across the state, including one at Maine Maritime Academy.

At MMA, one of the three Deer Isle-Stonington teams took first place there and took sixth place in the state. The teams—each with three students—had met with mentors for six weeks prior to the competition, practicing and thinking about what kinds of decisions make a business successful. The teams were organized by Kyra Alex and Amy Vaughn of Ready by 21, who brought in community coaches.

Justin Eaton, a student on the Mariners1 team which placed first in its region, said he enjoyed the JA Titan Challenge. He had heard about the teams, and is interested in business, so decided to attend the sessions.

“As it went on I started to love it and every Tuesday I looked forward to practice,” said Eaton. “I learned that business is not easy and there are a lot of things that were difficult to decide.”

Rich Howe, who has business experience, served as one of the mentors for the JA teams. “The challenge was a study in entrepreneurship,” said Howe. Howe said while some students might enjoy the challenge because it is similar to a video game, the simulation shows students how businesses can be better performers.

Deer Isle-Stonington’s Mariners1 team scored 30 points to win their regional and finish tied for sixth in the state out of 99 teams. The winning score for the entire state was 32. Team members of Mariners1 included Eaton, Daniel Fill and Isaac Vaughn.

When asked why he thought the Mariners1 team succeeded, Eaton said “the thing that was key for our win was teamwork.”

Mariners2 scored 22, finished third in their region and near the top one-third in the state. Mariners3 tallied 9 points and tied for eighth in their regional. The students participating in the second two teams were Gared Gove, Krysten Davis, Nick Siebert, Nick Gillen, Cody Eaton and Noah Gillen.

Community coaches for the teams include Sallie Findlay, Charles Osborne, Walter Reed, Chris Leith and Rich Howe.