After competing for four days last week, three SM East seniors received awards at BizFest, hosted by the Hispanic Chamber of Greater Kansas City. Senior Madison Nesselhuf won first place and was awarded a $3,500 scholarship, and senior Viviana Rodriguez came in second place and received a $2,500 scholarship. The award of “Most Congenial” was given to senior Alad Aguirre.
BizFest is a competition aimed at inspiring students to pursue a future in business and fostering relationships between students and business owners. The Hispanic Chamber of Greater Kansas city held the 2014 event at Kansas City Kansas Community College from Wednesday, April 2 to Saturday, April 12. Nesselhuf, Rodriguez and Aguirre — along with fellow East students Anthony Garcia, Vincent McClanahan, Amanda Palacios-Valdez, Fatima Ramirez, and Viviana Rodriguez — were selected out of a group of 300 applicants for the program.
The event was a mix of a workshop and a competition. Students were paired with a mentor and developed business models, which were presented on Saturday morning. After an elimination round, six students were selected as finalists to compete for scholarships by presenting their model to participants, their families and a panel of judges.
“When they were announcing the winners my sister and I made eye contact and making [surprised] faces every time we found out that I was in a higher place,” Nesselhuf said. “I was not expecting to be in the top six, let alone first place winner.”