New York State of Mind
Rev. Peter Semeyn

The Timothy Christian High School VEI program made history this year in New York City. The six-student team placed 13th in the Nation at the National Business Plan Competition. To put that in perspective, there are over 500 schools in the United States that run a VEI program and Timothy’s program placed in the top 20! 

All six students on the National team registered for VEI, which is a class that meets daily, on the recommendation of a family member or a friend who had taken the class. They had no idea who else they would be working with in class until they arrived on the first day in early in August.

Under the direction of Mrs. Kendra Lee, the team got right to work. VEI is a student-directed program where students run a virtual business in the classroom. It is an international program with over 3000 firms around the world like the one that can be found at Timothy Christian High School. The course is not run like a regular classroom; it is run as a workplace where the students are in various departments and there are chief officers. Students are responsible for making daily business decisions and running the business for one fiscal year starting with the business and ending with an annual report. What you see happening each day in a business is what is happening in the VEI classroom day in and day out.

Throughout the year, students have opportunities to participate in different competitions and attend trade shows where they set up a booth and sell their products. The course takes what they have been learning in the classroom and applies it to a real-world situation. The Timothy Christian High School VEI program placed 1st in the IL-WI Business Plan State Competition, which qualified them to represent IL-WI at the National Competition in April in New York City. Under Mrs. Lee’s direction, this is the second year in a row with a 1st place finish.

For the Business Plan Competition, the VEI students prepared a business plan, which included a company description, a product decision rationale, a marketing plan, and financial data. This represented 30% of the final score. The Oral Competition portion represented 50% of the score, and the Question & Answer Session represented 20%. 

The six-student team placed 13th in the Nation at the National Business Plan Competition. To put that in perspective, there are over 500 schools in the United States that run a VEI program and Timothy’s program placed in the top 20!

Kendra Lee says, “In VEI there is core content that students are learning. The secondary curriculum, and one I feel is equally important, is the development of leadership, conflict resolution, problem-solving, speaking skills, and much more.” This is in keeping with Timothy’s mission to develop courageous leaders.

Teamwork is essential to the success of VEI. Each student had a unique skill that could be used for their business, and all those skills were put together for the whole. Senior Adriana Veliz found that VEI pushed her out of her comfort zone and forced her to do things that she would not have ordinarily tried. Junior Tyler Wolterstorff had no idea that he could memorize as much material as was required for the VEI presentation and discovered the importance of communication of ideas to an audience and among teammates. 

“The team worked really hard and practiced their presentations and answered practice questions that might be asked,” Tyler said. “That hard work helped us not to worry during the competition.”

The team’s experience in VEI fostered spiritual development as well. “The presentation during Nationals was nerve-wracking and I found myself praying for God to give me peace, which calmed my nerves,” shared junior Jon Tameling. 

The VEI team learned so much more in New York City, though. Senior Ethan Munk and others on the team took food to some homeless people. “We had so much and they had nothing,” said Ethan. 

One night in their hotel room, seniors Adriana Veliz, Sadie Orange, and Mykaela Pettigrew talked about how they are all from different friend groups at Timothy, but because of their common faith in Christ, they easily became friends and colleagues.

By winning the state competition and qualifying for nationals in New York City, the VEI team had one more hurdle to overcome: covering their expenses for the trip to New York. “Timothy is an amazing community which continues to demonstrate its generosity. The Timothy Foundation stepped up and covered our expenses. It was amazing,” said Mykaela.

The Timothy Foundation exists to provide support for the sustainability of Timothy Christian Schools. The Timothy Foundation continues to grow and provide support each year for tuition assistance, faculty development, funding for new programs, and other donor-selected projects. 

These National Champions learned more in New York City than just how to give a stellar Business Plan. They earned a State Championship and culminated with a stellar showing at Nationals. It was a great outcome as Timothy continues to prepare students to be courageous leaders.

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