Few upper secondary school students take on as demanding a task as the second class of the Pyhäjoki Upper Secondary School, which focuses on entrepreneurship. For the past 25 years, arranging the Pyhäjoki fair has been part of the second year of the upper secondary school’s students.
Pyhäjoki fair is one of the town’s most important annual events. This September, the event attracted yet again dozens of local businesses as exhibitors and thousands of visitors to the Pyhäjoki community center and its surroundings.
It took a total of seven months to arrange the event. The students were in charge of the entertainment and the exhibitors, as well as catering. They also ensured that everything was done on time and as agreed. Not bad for a bunch of 17-year-olds!
This year, the fair event was managed by upper secondary school students Helvi Heikkilä and Josefiina Saukko. They ensured that all the trade fair organization teams – such as communication, advertising, technology, café, and graphic design – handled their jobs.
“As the project managers, we signed agreements and attended interviews and meetings. No matter where you end up working, you’ll surely be able to utilize some of this experience,” Heikkilä says.
“The workload was a surprise,” says Janne Niemelä, who was the editor-in-chief of a trade fair magazine made by the upper secondary school students during the preparations for the event.
Three hours per week were reserved for the preparations in the curriculum, but the students had to spend some of their free time or take some time from their other studies as well, because they had to stick to the schedule. Only after having started work did they notice how many details had to be considered.
“The technology team was in charge of electricity, the internet connection, and safety plans, for example. These were things I didn't come to think about in advance,” Heikkilä says.
Niemelä praises the fact that students of the Pyhäjoki Upper Secondary School are given more responsibility than students in other schools.
“Entrepreneurship offers freedom, but it also involves the responsibility of taking care that everything works.”
“We are able to express ourselves and our thoughts. We like the school’s motto of ‘Not just another brick in the wall’,” he says.
In Heikkilä’s opinion, the best lessons learned from the trade fair event were teamwork, prioritization, and the ability to make compromises. Some of the students would have liked to see a media personality, such as a You Tube star, as the headliner of the event, while others wanted an athlete, so a compromise was made by inviting former ice hockey player Hannes Hyvönen.
“With such a large group of people, it’s impossible to make decisions that satisfy everybody,” Heikkilä says.
Boldly towards entrepreneurship
There is plenty of interest towards entrepreneurship in Pyhäjoki and the neighboring areas, because the number of students at the Pyhäjoki Upper Secondary School has doubled over the past four years, and more and more students come from outside the town.
Eerik Soronen, who sold advertisements for the trade fair magazine, says that he has come to value entrepreneurship more. Seeing how much dedication and work entrepreneurship requires has been an eye-opener.
“I don’t know yet whether I’d like to become an entrepreneur myself, but it’s an option.”
This year, the theme of the trade fair event was courage. The students say that they chose this theme because they not only wanted to arrange a successful event but also set a good example and encourage other young people to boldly try entrepreneurship.
“Entrepreneurship offers freedom, but it also involves the responsibility of taking care that everything works,” Josefiina Saukko summarizes.
Fennovoima has been an exhibitor since 2008. During this time, there has been only one event which the company did not attend.