Moon Area High School Students Win $5,000 Prize, Visit From Willie Parker for Their School

PITTSBURGH - The teams anxiously awaited the client's final decision.

Each had prepared a market strategy and campaign plan.  Each had made a presentation to the client.  Now it was crunch time.  Only one of the eight teams would be chosen.

No, we're not talking about high-powered advertising agencies or marketing firms, but about students from eight area high schools who recently competed against each other in a unique, real-world educational program sponsored by Verizon and Junior Achievement.

Verizon officials Tuesday (Dec. 19) announced that students from Moon Area High School bested the competition to win a $5,000 prize for their school for a marketing plan they created and implemented to promote Verizon's ultra-fast FiOS Internet service.  FiOS Ambassador and Pittsburgh Steelers running back "Fast" Willie Parker presented the prize and met with the students during an assembly held at the high school.

Verizon and Junior Achievement created the challenging contest to help interested students learn the fundamentals of business and marketing through a practical, hands-on project.  Teams of students from eight area high schools - Baldwin, Cornell, Montour, Moon Area, North Hills, Quaker Valley, Shaler Area and Thomas Jefferson - participated.  Each team received $500 to create and implement a plan to market Verizon's FiOS Internet service in the team's local community between Oct. 1 and Nov. 22.

On Dec. 1, the teams formally presented their marketing campaign plans and outcomes before a panel of judges that rated the plans based on factors such as development of mission statement and objectives; implementation of strategies and tactics; and results, presentation and creativity.

"The originality that each team demonstrated in this effort was extraordinary," said Richard Schonbachler, group manager for Verizon Pennsylvania marketing and a member of the judging panel.  "Each team's plan had some very strong points and inventive ideas, making it especially difficult to decide which one stood out from the rest."

The winning team's marketing plan displayed excellent market research, a strong mission statement, achievable objectives and sound strategies and tactics.

In addition to the contest, Verizon employees volunteered to mentor students at each of the high schools that participated in the program.

"The goal of this program was to give students exposure to the challenges marketers face every day in the business world and, based on the plans these teams developed, we've accomplished that goal and more," said Schonbachler.

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ), a New York-based Dow 30 company, is a leader in delivering broadband and other wireline and wireless communication innovations to mass market, business, government and wholesale customers.  Verizon Wireless operates America's most reliable wireless network, serving nearly 57 million customers nationwide.  Verizon's Wireline operations include Verizon Business, which operates one of the most expansive wholly-owned global IP networks, and Verizon Telecom, which is deploying the nation's most advanced fiber-optic network to deliver the benefits of converged communications, information and entertainment services to customers.  For more information, visit www.verizon.com.