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West High Team Wins at Language Skills Competition

A team of students from West High School recently won first place in the Arabic category at the ninth annual High School Business Language Competition. 

BYU Marriott’s Whitmore Global Management Center (GMC) hosted its ninth annual High School Business Language Competition (HSBLC) during the Winter 2020 semester. Fifty-eight teams of students from high schools around the state of Utah gathered in the Tanner Building to put their language skills to the test as they competed in Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, French, and Arabic.

The HSBLC allows students to apply both their business and language skills in a setting outside of their school environment. This year’s competition was sponsored by Woven Pear, a Utah-based sock company. Students were tasked with creating a business plan for the company to effectively market their products, and then present that plan in a second language.

Taylorsville High School took first place in the Spanish category, first place in Mandarin Chinese went to Timpview High School, Wasatch Academy placed first in French, and West High School was the winner for Arabic.

“These experiences are important in providing language students with the opportunity to see how they can use their language skills outside of the classroom,” says Laila Lamani, coach for the West High School team. “The competition opened their eyes to the fact that learning a foreign language can be a huge plus in the world of business and trade, as the skill not only allows for building communication but also allows opportunities for conducting research in the language of the target audience.”

Lamani, who coached West High’s two French teams and two Arabic teams, says the competition had a significant impact on her students as the experience unified them as teams. “They learned to work as a team,” she says. “Seeing them come together was beautiful as the stronger students coached and tutored the ones who didn’t have the same level of language skills.” Lamani also noted that placing in their designated categories was rewarding for each student as they saw their hard work pay off.

Vishal Jammulapati, a student from West High School’s winning Arabic team, appreciated the opportunity to participate in the competition as the experience allowed him to test his language skills in a way he hasn’t been able to before. "One doesn't often study business and marketing language in standard high school classes,” he says. “Being able to express myself in another language in a relatively sophisticated manner was refreshing.”

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