Fairland students win Chamber award

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 3, 2007

PROCTORVILLE — A group of Fairland High School teens have been named the winners of the Greater Lawrence County Area Chamber of Commerce’s inaugural “Take the LEAD” Business of the Year Award.

The team of Erica Hutchinson and Amanda Ottaviano took top honors for their business plan for the Proctorville Health and Fitness Center. Clinton Baise and Danielle Blair were also part of the project.

“Take the LEAD,” which stands for Leadership, Education and Development, was formed by the chamber last year as a way to introduce high school juniors to the world of business.

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Teams from Symmes Valley, South Point, Fairland and St. Joseph —

14 students collectively — had to come up with a new business and then plan how they would get it up and running. They had to present their work on a PowerPoint presentation.

Hutchinson and Ottaviano’s plan for a health and fitness center included a mock-up of the proposed facility using the old Farm and Fleet building in Proctorville as its home. The facility included a walking track, kickboxing equipment, a dance room, a therapeutic pool, a vitamin shop, a caf/, and tanning beds.

They did research on what physical therapy and fitness services were needed in the eastern end of Lawrence County, who would need these services and how much it would cost to implement the services.

“I really enjoyed the project and I learned a lot,” said Hutchinson.

Jack Borders, chamber director, said the project helped the students learn what it takes to build a successful business.

“They get to look at all the angles of it and see it from different perspectives,” said Borders, whose daughter, Joanie, was a participant. “They can see what it takes to make the business a reality.”

The winning team took home $1,000; a prize that was donated by Wal-Mart. Oak Hill Banks donated prizes to the other teams.

State Rep. Clyde Evans was the featured speaker for the awards ceremony. He encouraged the students to continue to work hard and to also strive to find their true purpose in life. Evans, a Republican from Rio Grande, also told them to love one another and surround themselves with positive things and people.