Virtual Enterprise at Fountain Valley High School gives students a peek into the business world as they create their own brands. Ambitious and curious, the students build their company from the ground up.
Advisor of VE, business teacher Sarah McCance, gives the students experience, confidence and help to build their leadership and communication skills.
Aurora and reFAIRe are the brands that VE started up this year. Both are incredibly innovative and environmentally friendly.
Senior Nisheille Esposo is the Chief Executive Officer of Aurora, zero period VE. With plastic being a contributor to environmental challenges, Aurora focuses on the elimination of this waste in its packaging in a fun and unique way.
“Aurora is a room decoration company that conveniently helps their customers find their aesthetic,” Esposo said. “We aim to reduce the waste that comes with all of the packaging, by using eco-friendly biodegradable materials.”
ReFAIRe is the fourth period VE, which is led by CEO senior Laura Sabate. Similar to Aurora, reFAIRe aims to reduce plastic waste through its innovative solution to reduce and reuse polyester.
“ReFAIRe is a stuffed animal company that [plans] to redesign the toxic polyester that’s made in traditional stuffed animals,” Sabate said. “We’re utilizing scraps of clothing that would have otherwise ended up in landfills, to make this new eco-friendly and biodegradable stuffing.”
VE is unlike any other course that you can take at FVHS. It’s student-based and allows the students to fully immerse themselves in the business world.
“It’s very lenient, but that’s because it’s self-driven by the students and not as much by the teacher,” Sabate said. “It makes the student feel more confident in their abilities because in Virtual Enterprise we really highlight what everyone is most comfortable in working with…it really allows everyone to have an equal say and feel really included in this company.”
The skills learned in a VE course are extremely evident in Aurora and reFAIRe.
McCance, who has been overseeing VE since 2013, sees VE as a program to help anybody prepare for a job and an experience that comes with many benefits.
“It’s very hands-on and individually run so the students have to learn that job position and compete in that job position,” McCance said. “Students not only grow on a social aspect and getting to know each other, public speaking, but they also get internships and college apps and jobs done.”
Students in FVHS’s VE courses are met with the difficulty of starting a job that’s new to them, sometimes requiring loans, interviews and sorting themselves into all of the departments. However, with the assurance of McCance, the students are able to work together and face the challenges and struggles of creating a company together. They have a certain quality that makes success a sure-fire possibility.
“Learning a new job on the spot is probably the hardest thing they have to overcome but usually by the middle of November, they’re kind of rolling and they’ve got it all taken care of,” McCance said.
Looking forward, the VE class includes competitions, state and national, with other schools, based on the companies that they were able to produce as a team. The class is very centered around student engagement, so with a whole team working together to build their company, their goals are just within reach to add to their list of achievements.
“Far-reaching goals would be to win in our competitions, and to hopefully make it to Nationals that is held in New York because we missed out on that opportunity last year,” Sabate said.
Similar to Sabate, Esposo also has the same goal for her company and will continue to strive to achieve them together with her team.
“I want to make it to Nationals because I want to go to New York,” Esposo said. “I just want everyone to be really happy in the class, and I know being happy means scoring high.”
With the fate of Aurora and reFAIRe in the hands of the students, many of them focus their attention on the skills to be gained within the class.
“Hopefully they gain confidence, learn the skills to work together, talk to each other, make hard decisions [and] be able to learn a little bit about every job aspect in a company,” McCance said.
Because VE is important to McCance and her students, the experience alone is a great opportunity and worth every minute.
It is something students can choose to do and a responsibility that truly requires a passion and an interest.
“It’s pretty much what you put into it is what you get out of it,” McCance said. “So if you strive to be professional and put a lot of energy and time into it, you’re going to get a lot out of it.”
Keep up with VE and their activities through their socials. You can follow Aurora’s Instagram @vefvhs and their TikTok @aurorafvhs. You can follow reFAIRe’s Instagram and TikTok @fvhsve.
Zander Cherry contributed to this story.