FCHS Students Excel in Regional Jobs for America's Graduates Competition

February 9, 2024 at 9:48 a.m.
FCHS JAG Students participated in the Regional JAG competition on Feb. 1. Three students will move on to state.
FCHS JAG Students participated in the Regional JAG competition on Feb. 1. Three students will move on to state. (photo provided)


Every year, during the spring semester, the Jobs for America's Graduates program hosts a regional competition consisting of 12-14 categories where students compete. The top performer from each region gets to participate in the state competition in Indianapolis in March. This year's regional competition occurred on February 1 at the Education Training Center in Versailles. Twelve Franklin County High School (FCHS) students participated in the competition, and three qualified for the state competition.

Franklin County High School JAG teacher Tanya Wirtz shared they prepared for the competition with lots of practice. 

"They were given the rubric and guidelines for the competitions," Wirtz said. "They would practice in front of their peers to make it more realistic to what the competition may look like."

On the day of the competition, the students and Wirtz arrived at the Education Training Center, which was buzzing with excitement as students from all over the region gathered to participate in the event's various categories. Once behind the quiet closed doors where they would present their idea/project, the students put their hearts and souls into their presentations as the competition got underway. They spoke about a wide range of topics, including financial literacy, entrepreneurship, career presentations, creative solutions, critical thinking, employability skills, public speaking, writing skills, and cover design.

Wirtz shared that one of the things she was most proud of was that the students volunteered to compete in the competition. "I was blessed enough to have a competitor in every single competition," Wirtz said. "It is hard to get students to compete against their peers."

The judges were impressed with the professionalism and dedication displayed by the FCHS students. They carefully evaluated each presentation, considering the students' knowledge, skills, and ability to articulate their ideas effectively. A couple of students shared their feelings regarding the competition. Kirstin Clark shared, "It helped me gain knowledge for my career and to be better prepared for my future."

Ava Moore said, "It was a really good opportunity. 

It made me do something that I would not regularly do. I am glad that Tanya Wirtz influenced me to do it. It was a great experience."

Amelia Pitcher said, "This gave me the opportunity to speak with adults in a way that I have not done before. It also gave me a chance to show my creativity by building something I had never built before. It gave me a great opportunity to put myself and JAG out there." 

Lisa Hudson of Sunman owns the Hyvis located in Batesville and volunteered to be one of the judges in the competition. Hudson's company began in her basement in 2022 and is now in a facility of over 20,000 sq. ft. They provide uniform and apparel solutions and export to large global companies. She shared what made her so passionate about the JAG program and why she wants her and her business involved.

"Being a mom of five was my full-time job before I started my business, and seeing how my children are different and raised in the same place, knowing that each has a gift, and knowing not one gift is not more important than the other," Hudson began. "They are all uniquely made and have an amazing purpose. So, to see that the world we live in makes so many kids believe that they aren't smart or doing well in school, so they believe that they are less than. Or they think they aren't going to college, so they are kind of a loser. It's not true. It's not true because everyone was made to do something special, and it's important to recognize that one gift is not more important than the other. That is wonderful you get straight As and find your thing; we aren't diminishing that. It is important, and they will find where they really shine. But other kids are getting pushed aside and don't understand they have something amazing that others who are really great in school don't have the same skill. That's what makes a great team, right? What makes a wonderful society is that we all have to bring something different to the table.." 

Hudson was one of the judges for the Entrepreneurship Plan competition, which was won by FCHS students Isaiah Lee and Piper Twiggs. The pair created a popcorn dipping sauce. They made four flavors for people to dip their popcorn in. They made Ranch, Carmel, Chocolate, and Cheese and even had samples for the judges accompanied by their business plan.

Kiley had the winning Cover Design/Save the Date. All the students did this assignment. I had a team of people from the school pick the top three, and I submitted all three. Kiley's design was chosen out of all the other designs from the region.

The full list of participants and results from the regional competition are as follows:

Ben Becker - Financial Literacy - 2nd Place

Kendal Cain - Outstanding Senior - Honorable Mention 

Piper Twiggs and Isaiah Lee - Entrepreneurship - 1st Place - Moving on to State

Bella Lee - PBL - Honorable Mention

Kirstin Clark - Career Presentation

Amelia Pitcher - Creative Solutions - 3rd Place

Evan Taylor - Critical Thinking

Ava Moore - Employability Skills

Olivia Bradley - Public Speaking - 3rd Place

Caroline Rowlett - Writing Skills - 3rd Place

Kiley Robinson - Cover Design - 1st Place - Moving on to State

Congratulations to all The FCHS JAG students!

The JAG program is a national program that helps high school students from underserved communities develop the skills they need to succeed in the workforce and help students who face significant barriers to success, such as poverty, homelessness, or involvement in the juvenile justice system. JAG provides a range of services to students, including academic support, career readiness training, and job placement assistance. The goal of the program is to help students graduate from high school, transition into postsecondary education or training, and ultimately secure meaningful and sustainable employment.

Every year, during the spring semester, the Jobs for America's Graduates program hosts a regional competition consisting of 12-14 categories where students compete. The top performer from each region gets to participate in the state competition in Indianapolis in March. This year's regional competition occurred on February 1 at the Education Training Center in Versailles. Twelve Franklin County High School (FCHS) students participated in the competition, and three qualified for the state competition.

Franklin County High School JAG teacher Tanya Wirtz shared they prepared for the competition with lots of practice. 

"They were given the rubric and guidelines for the competitions," Wirtz said. "They would practice in front of their peers to make it more realistic to what the competition may look like."

On the day of the competition, the students and Wirtz arrived at the Education Training Center, which was buzzing with excitement as students from all over the region gathered to participate in the event's various categories. Once behind the quiet closed doors where they would present their idea/project, the students put their hearts and souls into their presentations as the competition got underway. They spoke about a wide range of topics, including financial literacy, entrepreneurship, career presentations, creative solutions, critical thinking, employability skills, public speaking, writing skills, and cover design.

Wirtz shared that one of the things she was most proud of was that the students volunteered to compete in the competition. "I was blessed enough to have a competitor in every single competition," Wirtz said. "It is hard to get students to compete against their peers."

The judges were impressed with the professionalism and dedication displayed by the FCHS students. They carefully evaluated each presentation, considering the students' knowledge, skills, and ability to articulate their ideas effectively. A couple of students shared their feelings regarding the competition. Kirstin Clark shared, "It helped me gain knowledge for my career and to be better prepared for my future."

Ava Moore said, "It was a really good opportunity. 

It made me do something that I would not regularly do. I am glad that Tanya Wirtz influenced me to do it. It was a great experience."

Amelia Pitcher said, "This gave me the opportunity to speak with adults in a way that I have not done before. It also gave me a chance to show my creativity by building something I had never built before. It gave me a great opportunity to put myself and JAG out there." 

Lisa Hudson of Sunman owns the Hyvis located in Batesville and volunteered to be one of the judges in the competition. Hudson's company began in her basement in 2022 and is now in a facility of over 20,000 sq. ft. They provide uniform and apparel solutions and export to large global companies. She shared what made her so passionate about the JAG program and why she wants her and her business involved.

"Being a mom of five was my full-time job before I started my business, and seeing how my children are different and raised in the same place, knowing that each has a gift, and knowing not one gift is not more important than the other," Hudson began. "They are all uniquely made and have an amazing purpose. So, to see that the world we live in makes so many kids believe that they aren't smart or doing well in school, so they believe that they are less than. Or they think they aren't going to college, so they are kind of a loser. It's not true. It's not true because everyone was made to do something special, and it's important to recognize that one gift is not more important than the other. That is wonderful you get straight As and find your thing; we aren't diminishing that. It is important, and they will find where they really shine. But other kids are getting pushed aside and don't understand they have something amazing that others who are really great in school don't have the same skill. That's what makes a great team, right? What makes a wonderful society is that we all have to bring something different to the table.." 

Hudson was one of the judges for the Entrepreneurship Plan competition, which was won by FCHS students Isaiah Lee and Piper Twiggs. The pair created a popcorn dipping sauce. They made four flavors for people to dip their popcorn in. They made Ranch, Carmel, Chocolate, and Cheese and even had samples for the judges accompanied by their business plan.

Kiley had the winning Cover Design/Save the Date. All the students did this assignment. I had a team of people from the school pick the top three, and I submitted all three. Kiley's design was chosen out of all the other designs from the region.

The full list of participants and results from the regional competition are as follows:

Ben Becker - Financial Literacy - 2nd Place

Kendal Cain - Outstanding Senior - Honorable Mention 

Piper Twiggs and Isaiah Lee - Entrepreneurship - 1st Place - Moving on to State

Bella Lee - PBL - Honorable Mention

Kirstin Clark - Career Presentation

Amelia Pitcher - Creative Solutions - 3rd Place

Evan Taylor - Critical Thinking

Ava Moore - Employability Skills

Olivia Bradley - Public Speaking - 3rd Place

Caroline Rowlett - Writing Skills - 3rd Place

Kiley Robinson - Cover Design - 1st Place - Moving on to State

Congratulations to all The FCHS JAG students!

The JAG program is a national program that helps high school students from underserved communities develop the skills they need to succeed in the workforce and help students who face significant barriers to success, such as poverty, homelessness, or involvement in the juvenile justice system. JAG provides a range of services to students, including academic support, career readiness training, and job placement assistance. The goal of the program is to help students graduate from high school, transition into postsecondary education or training, and ultimately secure meaningful and sustainable employment.

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