Huntington High School Virtual Enterprise business course students aren’t fooling around. The two classes of enthusiastic and high performing teenagers have formed impressive virtual companies and both are well on their way to making their enterprises successful.
The classes were recently visited by local businessman Jamie Proctor, who shared his own story of co-founding a company and what it takes to make it in a competitive world.
Mr. Proctor met with students in the sleek new Virtual Enterprise classroom on the lower level of the high school. He’s the co-founder of WorkRails, a software company which “makes it easier for technology services and sales teams to work together,” according to the company’s website.
The business classes listened as Mr. Proctor shared his story and gave advice to the ABODE and Poppy Virtual Enterprise company teams. “His advice to the student was extensive,” said Suzi Biagi, who teaches one section of the new course while Paige Tyree Furman teaches the other. “He stated that there will always be a sense of ‘booms and busts’ and that working for yourself is both scary and satisfying because making something out of nothing enriches your life in so many ways.”
Mr. Proctor discussed what it means to find your “passion” and choosing to pursue “what excites and inspires you the most.”
“He shared some of his successes and failures and when asked how he stayed so humble he was quick to respond that his personal ‘pre and post kids era’ has led him to be much more level headed and to slow down and appreciate the bumps in the road,” Mrs. Biagi said.
Mr. Proctor told the teenagers that “learning, having fun and making connections” are all keys to achieving success and that “you never know where your next idea will come from.”
Some students asked for career suggestions and Mr. Proctor recommended “anything to do with technology, which is literally part of every career cluster,” using the example of “vertical farming” to illustrate his point.
“When one of the classes shared their Virtual Enterprise company’s concerns, Mr. Proctor stated that it sounded like a “real business” and he could relate to all of it,” Mrs. Biagi said. “The infrastructure growing pains, determining the platform that helps guide you on how things get done, limited time, capital being limited and employee and competition issues; it’s all real.”
The Huntington business students mined Mr. Proctor’s base of knowledge for information that could be used to make their firm’s successful. “It’s really about how much pain you can tolerate,” he said.
Mr. Proctor said any company’s mission statement is “super critical,” adding that “once you determine that, stay true to the mission and believe in it.”
The ABODE and Poppy Virtual Enterprise company teams are on a year-long quest to turn their new firms into the envy of Long Island business students. Many are planning personal careers in business and intend to study some aspect of business in college.
“It literally takes years to figure out what you do and why you do it and both of you, ABODE and Poppy have done what other start-ups are still trying to figure out and in such a short time,” Mr. Proctor said. “It’s absolutely amazing.”