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Drury SIFE hosts first Business Bowl Feb. 10

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by Karen E. Culp

SBJ Staff

Pay attention students: there will be a quiz on this later.

Students from area high schools competed Feb. 10 in the Drury College Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) chapter's Business Bowl competition.

The afternoon-long competition quizzed students over business topics covered in their classes and in business publications, said Dr. Robert Wyatt, Drury professor of accounting and SIFE adviser.

"The SIFE students wrote the questions for the competition, drawing on periodicals and other resource material," Wyatt said.

A team from Kickapoo High School won first prize in the competition. The team, called "Kickapoo II," faced off against "Kickapoo I," the school's other team, which took home second place. Kickapoo II consisted of Brian Whorley, Eric Smith, Chad Ledbetter and Amanda Gaitler.

"I was a little stumped when they asked who the vice president of Indonesia was. I wasn't expecting that question," Gaitler said.

The students said that their business courses at Kickapoo prepared them for the competition. Their faculty representative, Lynn Coffey, who teaches business at Kickapoo and is the school's Future Business Leaders of America sponsor, said the event was good preparation for his students, and he was glad to have the opportunity to bring them. The first-place team won $75 and the second-place team won $25. Forsyth High School won third place and received a certificate.

The competition was the first for the newly formed Drury SIFE chapter. The group organized last fall and now has 26 members, all of whom were nominated by professors. The group got started as a result of Wyatt's interest in having a chapter at Drury and the response from the business community, he said.

"At the national level, SIFE's board is made up of top-ranking officials from Fortune 500 companies. The organization has risen to a prestigious level and we really thought Drury College should be a part of it," Wyatt said.

Locally, the Drury chapter's advisory board is made up of business leaders from the community. The judges for the Business Bowl were all board members and included representatives from McLoud & Co., Largent Printing, Merrill Lynch, House of Travel, Office Concepts, Radio Shack, Cox Health System and Roberts, McKenzie, Mangan & Cummings.

"The business community likes to contribute to education. Many of the people on our advisory board are Drury alumni or are supporters of Drury College. This college has generated a lot of interest from the business community because of its community focus," Wyatt said.

Of the 26 SIFE members at Drury, only 13 are business majors. The group is to bring together all students interested in free enterprise, Wyatt said. Dr. Melissa Montgomery, professor of education, is the other adviser for the group. The Business Bowl was one of about 45 projects the group has worked or is working on during this school year, Wyatt said.

Projects for SIFE range from a student administering a stress-management course for a local business to the whole group's starting a welfare-to-work program for mothers in Aurora who were previously receiving federal welfare benefits, Wyatt said.

The group has also gone to Laredo, Texas, to help sixth grade students there develop a free enterprise project. They will conduct the same project in Springfield with a group of Pipkin students later this year, Wyatt said.

The trip the student group will take this year that is probably the most daunting is one to Clearwater, Fla., where the students will participate in a regional Students in Free Enterprise competition. The Drury students will enter their 25-minute audio-visual and verbal presentation in the regional competition, vying for prize money to reinvest in the group and a chance to compete in the national competition in Kansas City, Wyatt said.

"Our goal this year is to win some money at the regional level and to advance to the national competition. I expect our team to be very competitive," Wyatt said.

The competition in Kansas City is actually an international one, with about five countries in addition to the United States being represented. The regional competition in Clearwater, Fla., is April 3. The international competition is May 10-13.

SIFE's national headquarters are in Springfield, and there are chapters at SMSU and Evangel College. The group's member students are highly sought-after for jobs, Wyatt said.

"Parents are always concerned about whether or not their children are going to be able to get a job when they finish college. SIFE is one way to ensure that these students will have job offers. In my experience with the organization, any graduating student who wanted a job could get one after graduating," Wyatt said.

The Business Bowl was also an opportunity for the Drury College students to brush up on their business know-how and get ready for the regional competition, Wyatt said.

"I'm hoping this got them thinking and was a little bit of a refresher course for them," he added.

The bowl got "tremendous response" from the area's schools, and the Drury chapter plans to have another Business Bowl next year.

INSET CAPTION:

SIFE members

are highly sought-after for jobs.

Dr. Robert Wyatt

Drury College[[In-content Ad]]

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