Teens Take Prizes for Spanish and Strategy

PROVO, Utah – Mar 14, 2018 – Not even a blizzard could prevent seventeen student teams from competing at the seventh annual High School Business Language Competition hosted by the Whitmore Global Management Center at the BYU Marriott School of Business.

While the snow fell outside, high school students from around the state gathered in the Tanner Building to showcase their Spanish skills. They presented their plans to market Thread Wallets’ traditional elastic wallets and newly released phone cases to the local Hispanic community. 

Some participants were native Spanish speakers, while other students developed language skills through their school curricula. The competition provided students of all backgrounds with the chance to use their Spanish in a real-world setting. 

“I’m so grateful my students had this opportunity,” says Jen Guiver, a Spanish teacher at Orem High School. “The competition shows my students that being bilingual and bicultural can impact their ability to make a difference in the world.”

One of Guiver’s students, sophomore Angela Torres, grew up speaking Spanish. While she isn’t sure if a career in business is right for her, she believes the language competition will help prepare her for whatever she chooses to do.

“This experience has boosted my confidence,” Torres says. “We received a lot of feedback on how we can improve as Spanish speakers and presenters. This competition is a great opportunity for students to explore ideas and meet new people.”

Students had three weeks to research the target consumers through surveys and interviews. A panel of judges scored the teams based on language ability, presentation skills, and marketing strategy. The judges were impressed by the students’ overall creativity and awarded the highest marks to those groups who excelled not only in language ability but also in understanding Hispanic culture. 

Between presentations, the teams had the opportunity to network with students from other schools. Fast-paced conversations in Spanish echoed through the atrium as students bonded over their shared interests.

A team from Taylorsville High School took first place, winning a prize of $600. Second place and $300 went to a team from Skyline High School, and third place and $100 went to a team from Wasatch Academy.

Senior Tawana Aversa of the winning team from Skyline High School is in the process of looking for jobs and applying to colleges. She also participated in the competition last year and has already reaped the benefits.

“I’ve gotten jobs and internships because of the business experience I gained through this competition,” Aversa says. “This experience also inspired my goal to one day start my own research company.”

The High School Business Language Competition is part of the Global Management Center’s initiative to increase international business and language fluency among students, faculty, and the community. The GMC is one of seventeen Centers for International Business Education and Research (CIBER) in the country.

The winning team from Taylorsville High School poses with GMC director and the CEO of Thread Wallet.
A team from Taylorsville High School won first place at the High School Business Language Competition.

Media Contact: Jordan Christiansen (801) 422-8938
Writer: Maggie Kuta