Central High School junior Zachary Reinert works on a project with other students Thursday morning during the High School of Business Camp at emPowerU. Sophomores, juniors and seniors from the three public high schools participated in different activities.

St. Joseph students took a crash course in the world of business.

The High School of Business Camp brought more than 250 high school students together Thursday at emPowerU.

The event included sophomores, juniors and seniors from Benton, Central and Lafayette high schools.

Cassie Halling, business teacher at Central, said the annual camp serves as an important supplement to the district’s business curriculum.

“Our kids are challenged, and they work hard,” Halling said. “The program is about group work and participation and learning to work with others, as well as building their knowledge to be able to hopefully establish a business when they graduate the program.”

Students faced different tasks based on their grade level.

Sophomores learned how to dress for success in business, with judges from Tip Top Tux and Kohl’s assessing the best-dressed couple from each school. Sophomores also learned leadership training to serve them in the business community.

Juniors were tasked with developing an idea and a business plan to help communities that were affected by Hurricane Matthew. Groups scrambled to complete their work by lunch, so they would be prepared to give a presentation to judges in the afternoon.

Seniors first broke into groups that put students from all three high schools together to work on an escape room scenario, which forced them to learn to trust and accept information from people they might not know well.

Dillon Dewey, a senior at Lafayette, said the experience of working with students from other schools was valuable.

“Today we really learned how to work as a team, and the importance of finding every little clue and how we take information from other people that you might not communicate with every day, and then use that on your own everyday projects,” Dewey said.

After that team-building exercise, the seniors met with mentors from local businesses.

Neil Shewell, a senior from Central, said the input from local leaders was beneficial.

“Within the High School of Business program, we run our own miniature businesses, so it was really useful to get their insights since they’ve been running businesses for years and years,” Shewell said.

Students who complete the program have the opportunity to secure college credit from Missouri Western State University, Northwest Missouri State University, or the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

Clinton Thomas can be reached at clinton.thomas@newspressnow.com. Follow him on Twitter: @SJNPThomas.