Tag Archives: Clubs & Activities

Discussing BOSS and the importance of black teachers at St. Joe

In the video below, I was able to sit down with Mount St. Joe High School teachers Ms. Wittelsberger and Ms. Claiborne. We discussed the newly founded club, B.O.S.S., how it is run, and what the goal of this club is. Also, we discuss the subject of black teachers at St. Joe and how it particularly affects other black students in regards of academics and willingness to learn.

Mark Ramsey, Senior

Mark Ramsey is a senior and a member of the Multimedia Journalism class.

MSJ Business Club: Behind the scenes of the club’s success

Over the past few years, the attendance and activity of the Mount Saint Joseph Business Club has exploded.  The Business Club is a business-focused club that teaches members business strategies and teaches them financial strategies. They also host numerous events such as externships, guest speakers, and Waffle Wednesdays. To learn more about the Business club, I sat down with the Business Club moderator, Mr. Julius Prezelski and Business Club Vice President Ray Kovasics to interview them about their thoughts behind the success of the club.

Business speaker
The Vice Presidents of the Business club with guest speaker from T Rowe Price Ms. Aimee Decamillo (Photo Credit: Mr. Prezelski)

To learn about the present status and the future of the club, I had to first learn about the beginning of the club. When I asked Mr. Prezelski about the origins of the club he told me, “Business Club started because a few students came to me and wanted to get into FBLA, which is Future Business Leaders of America club. So when the kids came to me, I said (being the business and personal finance teacher) sure I’ll do it.”

So why don’t we have an FBLA club anymore? Mr. Prezelski explained why the Mount Saint Joseph FBLA club no longer exists. He said, “Then, we realized that FBLA wasn’t the way we wanted to go, and we thought that DECA might be something different because it is more project oriented. So we flipped over to DECA.”  DECA, which stands for Distributive Education Clubs of America, was a good pathway for the club because of the projects they offer and the competitions they sponsor. DECA also hosts challenges which give their student members opportunities to demonstrate the knowledge and skills learned in the classroom through innovative challenges in partnership with several corporate partners.

Although it sounds like DECA was the right pathway for the club, we know that Business Club split from DECA and became it’s own self independent club. Mr. Prezelski explained that, “We did this because in order to do FBLA and DECA in the state you have to offer certain classes and we didn’t have enough room in the schedule to do what everyone else does in the public schools and therefore competing in the competitions without offering those classes, you just can’t do it.”

Business Club building resume
Business Club members building their resumes during a meeting (Photo Credit: Mr. Prezelski)

After learning about the history and pathway of the club, I had to learn the story behind the popularity of the club. Speaking to Mr. Prezelski, he answered me by saying, “Number one, I know they like the externships, I came up with it because of my daughter in college, where they have externships as Sophomore’s and I thought why couldn’t we do that with high school kids? They know what major they are taking in college, you guys have no idea and are trying to find out what you want to do in college. So, I came up with the idea of doing an externship.” 

For those who are unfamiliar with the term, an MSJ Business Club externship is a one day “internship” where a student spends a day in the life of a worker in some related field they are interested in. The purpose of the externship is to figure out if you really want to be in the field you witnessed for the day. Some of the companies that MSJ Business Club students have done externships with include: Choice Hotels, Baltimore Ravens Medical Staff, and 105.7 The Fan.

Mr. Prezelski then explained why he thought that the idea of an externship was so popular by saying, ” I think, since you guys did it yourselves, you telling other people or they are hearing on it through social media and now they are like why am I not doing that or parents are telling them so now the kids are more involved.”

Another aspect that Mr. Prezelski attributes to being a big draw for the club is the effort to make it less redundant and more fun. He explained, “This year we also are going to do once a month Donut or Waffle Wednesday, where we are going to provide donuts or waffles and drinks so a lot of kids are like, ‘hey I like that, they are doing something different’.” One quote that really stands out is when he said, “We are trying to make it fun, not everything is fun, but I think some things we do are good for you, like resume-building and bringing in the speaker.”

Business Club speaker Mr. Craig Costabile '12
Guest Speaker Mr. Craig Costabile ’12 (Photo Credit: Mount Saint Joseph High School)

Guest speakers are also a large draw for students coming into Business Club. Some of the guest speakers that the Business Club have hosted include Leon Thomas ’82 , Craig Costabile ’12 from Under Armour, and Ms. Aimee Decamillo from T. Rowe Price. The speakers often talk about their jobs and how they got to where they are today. They also give advice to students and interact and communicate with them.

I also asked him why he thought being involved with Business Club or taking Business-related classes was important for students to do during High School. He answered my question by saying, “Some of the classes we teach are just for personal use, like personal finance, whether you are a business major or not, the topics we discuss, anything from taxes to investing to healthcare, checking accounts, banking, all of that is in your daily life and can help you a lot, just in your daily life because eventually you have to figure out how to do this.”

Now that I had this information from the teacher leader of the Business Club, I wanted to gain the perspective of a student leader in the club, so I interviewed Ray Kovasics a co-vice president of the club. I first had to figure out why he was interested in joining. He said, “I joined Business Club because I like Mr. Prezelski as a teacher, and I wanted to get into business competitions and learn more about the business field. I also wanted to get his take on the exciting events that he was able to participate in through the Business Club.” After a few seconds of thinking, he continued, “Going to a Wizards business event in DC, first seeing all the colleges, hearing the sports executives speak, and then of course watching the game itself.”

Going forward, the Business Club is having more events than ever. The juniors in the club are preparing to have their externships arranged, while the freshmen and sophomores are working on building their resumes. Also, a speaker Mr. Butch Conner is coming on November 6th. With all these events planned, the business club is as active as ever, and looking to grow interest among the students. If you are interested, make sure to see Mr. Prezelski in Room 15 or talk to one of the student leaders.

F2CDC190-0B76-4D69-A7CF-5F292E4CBD2DTommy Stinson is a senior and a member of the Multimedia Journalism class.

The benefits of Model UN at the Mount

Students participate in a mock Model UN experience during Open House. Photo Credit: Mr. Ryan Folmer

The Model UN club at Mount Saint Joseph High School is very popular, with over twenty current members right now. It gains new members every year, and not all are freshmen. The club has been running for a number of years, being run mostly by the students, with Mr. Folmer helping new students to get a feel for the club. I had the opportunity to speak with two people who are very instrumental to the running of the club, Mr. Ryan Folmer and Anthony Bibbo, a senior at Saint Joe. Mr. Folmer is the moderator of the club, along with being the head of the Social Studies department and a 1996 Mount grad. Anthony Bibbo is a senior at MSJ, and one of the Secretary Generals of MUN. Both have much experience with this club, and gave me some insight into what Model UN is really all about.

Photo courtesy of Budapest International Model United Nations http://www.munika.kit.edu/24.php

“Model UN has been around nearly as long as the real United Nations itself,” Mr. Folmer explained. It started out in colleges, with multiple universities coming together to run conferences. While many people only see Model UN as just simulating what is happening at the UN, which is true, that is not the entirety. During meetings, we work on scheduling for events and discussing deadlines for delegates participating in conferences. Conferences are a chance to compete against other people and become the best delegate in your committee. Awards are given out for this, along with who has the best position papers and opening statements. “When looking for the best delegate, the chair should be considering who can make compromises between nations to put out a firm resolution,” said Mr. Folmer. He also said that while everyone will not agree, a delegate should be trying to bring countries together, not trying to stir up conflict.

MSJ delegates in the UN Committee on Drugs and Crime debate solutions to the drug trade. Photo credit: Mr. Ryan Folmer

As the moderator for MUN at Mount Saint Joe, Mr. Folmer states that his goal for new students, along with the older students, is to give people a better understanding of world affairs.  He stated that a person’s goal in a conference should be to “work towards a compromise with other delegates”. While in a conference, Anthony says the goal is to “simulate how the United Nations works, and then you’re supposed to work together with your fellow delegates.” This has led to him becoming very successful while debating with other students, and he has become one of the best delegates at MSJ.

Photo courtesy of MSJ Model UN Twitter https://twitter.com/msjmun

Both Mr. Folmer and Anthony agree that Model UN helps students to become better public speakers, something that is essential in most careers after college. I feel that I have definitely become a better orator through Model UN, though before I was always afraid to speak in front of large crowds. Getting up in front of a committee to present your opening statement gets easier over time, and most end up enjoying being able to present their position while in a conference.

Participating in Model UN at any school is very beneficial, but MSJ has done an amazing job helping students to get better using the skills mentioned before. It is also a great way to meet new people who have similar interests to you. Participating can help broaden your view of world politics, along with letting you experience how leaders work together to compromise.

C51F5EA1-5C29-4424-B467-088EDB56BF2EJoey Mailloux is a sophomore and a member of the Multimedia Journalism class.