Tucson high school senior recognized for business idea
McGuire graduate and undergraduate teams vie for top honors in championship round of business plans competition
TUCSON, Ariz. – APRIL 24, 2004 – The true mark of an entrepreneur is the ability to see an opportunity and then develop a business solution. Six Arizona high school students were up to the challenge on Friday, April 20, at the Eller College of Management, The University of Arizona. The payoff was cash and scholarship opportunities.
A Tucson, Ariz. student earned top honors at the Arizona Youth Entrepreneurship Award event, sponsored by the Eller College and the 1st National Bank of Arizona. Sonja Wieduwilt, a senior at Canyon Del Oro High School, presented the winning business plan ― Application Advantage ― which enables students to combine their online applications to various colleges and universities, providing a more efficient college application process. Drawing on personal experience, she saw many challenges for students who apply to multiple colleges, and developed a solution to the complicated process. Wieduwilt will use her $2,000 award for college expenses.
Wieduwilt said she was guided through the business plan process by her marketing teacher, Terri Bible, and urged other high school students to participate in next year’s award. “If you have a passion, you should go for it,” she said. “Pursue your dreams.”
Throughout the day many accomplished professionals, including UA men’s basketball coach Lute Olsen and Eller College dean Paul Portney, advised the Arizona high school students to “find what you love and pursue it.” The students were commended for their innovative ideas and diligence.
Runners-up to Wieduwilt were Callie Rezzonico, Basha High School, Chandler, Ariz. and Heather Luvisi, Sunrise Mountain High School, Peoria, Ariz. Rezzonico developed a plan for a personal and home accessories boutique called Bella Scintilla, while Luvisi’s business idea is a full-service wedding company. Rezzonico and Luvisi received $1,500 and $1,000 respectively for second and third places.
Benjamin LeVine, a senior at Willcox High School, Willcox, Ariz., solidified his decision to attend The University of Arizona after his day-long experience on the campus. LeVine earned an honorable mention and $500 for Wheels and Racquets, a tennis and bicycle repair shop. Recognizing the demand for this service in the Willcox area prompted his idea.
Honorable mention awards were also given to Zearra Chavez, a student at Amphitheater High School, Tucson, Ariz., for her jewelry business plan called Zee’s Unique, and Greg Lewis, a student at Yuma High School in Yuma, Ariz., for Digitext07, an electronic textbook designed to replace the hardcover version.
In addition to the cash awards, any of the six students who attend The University of Arizona and pursue a business major at the Eller College of Management will receive a scholarship matching their winnings.
The high school competition, intended to encourage and recognize the entrepreneurial spirit of today’s youth, took place during the CB Richard Ellis / McGuire Entrepreneurship Business Plans Competition and Year-End Celebration. Entrepreneurs from middle school through graduate school presented their business ideas throughout the day.
The Eller College of Management at the University of Arizona is internationally recognized for pioneering research, innovative curriculum, distinguished faculty, excellence in management information systems, entrepreneurship, and social responsibility. U.S. News & World Report ranks the Eller undergraduate program #11 among public business schools and two of its programs are among the top 20 — Entrepreneurship and MIS. U.S. News & World Report ranks the Eller MBA Full-Time program #48 in the U.S. The College is among the leaders of business schools generating grant funds for research. In addition to a Full-Time MBA program, the Eller College offers the 25th ranked Evening MBA program, the Eller Executive MBA and the Online MBA. The Eller College of Management supports more than 5,800 undergraduate and 750 graduate students on the UA campus in beautiful Tucson, Arizona, and a satellite campus in Phoenix.
Liz Warren-Pederson, Eller College of Management
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