NORTH CANTON  Hoover High School business students recently won top spots in three competitions at the 2016 Junior Achievement (JA) NextGen Business Challenge at R.G. Drage Career Technical Center. Now, they are seeking help to get to the national competition in Washington, D.C. to compete at the National Student Leadership Summit from June 20-23.

While hotel and food expenses are paid by Junior Achievement (JA), the teams need to raise $6,000 to cover travel expenses for the 12 people who will be in attendance: Ten business students, teacher Mike Grady and Joe Rozsa, a representative from JA. All of the business students graduated in May.

Grady, who leads the business program at Hoover High School, said there are only 15 teams selected from across the U.S., and it’s unusual to have two teams from the same school compete.

"As far as we know, this is the first time one school has had two teams chosen to compete at the same time for this prestigious event," Grady said. "The student lead businesses that have been selected are named Buckeye Lazer and Script-it. Both teams will be setting up a trade show booth in the rotunda of the Capital Building in the Entrepreneurship Expo event. The teams will be judged on the booth, their sales pitches, presentation, teamwork and the booth itself."

The winners of the competition are awarded scholarships. First-place students will earn a $4,000 scholarships; Second place gets a $2,000 scholarship; and third-place winners will receive a $1,000 scholarship.

Grady said students from each team voted on the five students going to the national competition. The votes were based on the level of contribution each student made and their level of work.

The other 13 teams competing come from all over the U.S., including Hawaii, Chicago, South Florida, Georgia, Southeastern Pennsylvania, Southwest New England, California, the upper Midwest, and East Central Ohio. The four-day event is packed full of seminars, awards and other activities.

"This is just an amazing opportunity for Hoover’s students," Grady said "It is the highlight of the student’s senior year. The support we’ve received over the past year has been just as amazing. We’re really excited to have two companies compete this year."

According the website, the JA USA National Student Leadership Summit is important for a number of reasons:

"The Summit is Junior Achievement's opportunity to celebrate the accomplishments of students from across the United States. This pinnacle event brings together 15 JA student companies to our Nation's capital for three days of high impact JA experiences. The Summit features the JA Company of the Year powered by The Hartford, the FedEx Access Award, the Microsoft Social Innovation Award, and the ICE NYSE Foundation Best Financial Performance Award," according to the website.