Talk about resilience. Nothing seems to stop the Virtual Enterprise class at Dos Palos High School.

A little background first.

In January 2020, I was called to DPHS for a big surprise. The principal informed me that the school’s very successful Virtual Enterprise (VE) class, which teaches business acumen and entrepreneurism to students, had been awarded a grant and a free trip to New York City for an international competition. I was there to chronicle the surprise announcement to instructor Jenny Hunger and her students.

Of course, Hunger and her students were ecstatic at the announcement that they would head to the Big Apple.

But unfortunately, COVID hit about a month later, and the trip scheduled for April 2020 was canceled.

Virtual Enterprise is a student-driven class where they develop a business and work to make it successful. They learn to research and development, marketing, accounting, sales, and human resources — all the essential aspects of a successful business.

Under Hunger’s guidance, the program has been highly successful, winning competitions in the valley and statewide.

So when covid ended, and in-house learning returned, Hunger and a new group of students returned to work.

That’s when setback No. 2 came about.

Last September, a major fire hit the school, and the state-of-the-art VE classroom was utterly destroyed. The students lost all their equipment and were forced to share a classroom in the Ag Department. But again, that didn’t stop them from their work.

Hunger said the students had created Praesidium, which “manufactures” safety and security devices. At a recent competition in Bakersfield, it was announced that Dos Palos would finally receive a $10,000 grant to head back to New York.

Hunger explained that VE gives students core academics and “real life” experience.

“When the students create a business plan, they are involved in math with the cost of goods and overhead,” said Hunger. “The English comes into play with writing and presenting the plan. VE students can use these skills in college or at a job. It is a great life experience.”

Hunger and nine students will head to New York on April 16th and spend five days there. The conference will feature over 4,000 students from 18 states and six countries.

The students, according to Hunger, are understandably excited about the trip.

“It’s all everyone is talking about,” she explained. “They are thrilled to be able to make this trip.”

David Borboa