Oasis (California)

South Pasadena High School, South Pasadena, CA

Oasis Logo

About the Firm

Oasis provides the opportunity to practice environmental
responsibility, healthy living, and community vitality through
the cultivation of sustainable rooftop gardens.

The sustainable firm earned top honors at the 2014 National Business Plan Competition after outperforming 22 of the strongest VEI Firms from across the country. The team also won the California Statewide Business Plan Competition two years in a row.

Inspired by Oasis’s success, South Pasadena High School’s Varsity Virtual Enterprise team plans on pursuing new ventures for the 2014-2015 school year.

Community Involvement

On March 8th, 2014, Oasis shared their business acumen with their local community by hosting its 3rd annual “Middle School Business Workshops.” Oasis provided 30 students from grades 6-8 with the opportunity to create their own businesses and present business plans to a panel of judges.

The middle school students were divided into teams to form their own companies, choosing a name and product to sell. Oasis employees provided small workshops to help the companies develop their plans and presentations.

“The Middle School Workshop is one of the company’s favorite events to put on every year”, said Rachel Newhall, VP of Sales. “Reaching out to middle school kids and giving them the chance to explore the creativity and ambition that business encourages is both inspiring for them and for us.”

All companies received awards in categories that ranged from “Best Technology” to “Most Innovative.” The grand prize of “Best Overall Company” was awarded to Clockworks, a company that sells innovative watches. Participants received a certificate and commemorative t-shirt.

(Story contributed by Rhian Moore, Oasis’s Vice President of Human Resources)


8th grade workshop

Middle school students learn business basics and presentation skills thanks to Oasis’s workshops


Team Members

Cathy Mason


Team (Title, Name, College):

  • CEO – Michael Ruan (Wharton/UPenn)
  • COO – Jason Wang (Stanford)
  • CFO – Chelsea Hong (UCLA)
  • CTO – Jeffrey Xiong (Rice)
  • CMO – Annie Lu (Berkeley)
  • VP of Sales – Rachel Newhall (Boston Univ)
  • VP of Finance – Michelle Huang (MIT)
  • VP of Technology – Sophia Arriola-Gibson (UCLA)
  • VP of Marketing – Misha Holtz (UC Santa Cruz)
  • VP of Operations – Ted Kim (USC)


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“VEI Gave Us All A Voice” – 2nd Annual Evening to Benefit VEI

“No matter what our chosen profession or passion, VEI gave us all a voice.”

– VEI Alum and Performer Nathaly Lopez

Nathaly Lopez (Class of 2008)

On April 1, 2014, 400 VEI supporters, and current and former VEI students, gathered at Tribeca 360 for a sold-out “Evening to Benefit VEI”. The students and alumni speakers and presenters handled the stage like seasoned business professionals and captivated the guests even more than the breathtaking view of Manhattan’s nighttime skyline. Other speakers included Carmen Fariña, Chancellor of NYC’s Department of Education, VEI Board Member Matt Chasin, VEI National Director Iris Blanc, Cat Greenleaf of NBC’s Talk Stoop, and longtime VEI supporter and Board Member, Joe Delaney. VEI honored New York Life with the Noel N. Kriftcher Service to Education Award (accepted by Executive Vice President Frank Boccio) and Jack Hidary with the Global Citizen Award.


James Holmes
Crenshaw High School, Los Angeles, CA – Class of 2014

Pillow Tune’s CEO shares why he’s thankful for the VEI experience and how he wishes every student in his community and similar communities across the United States will get the same opportunity.

Oluwatoyin (Toyin) Shitta-Bey
New Dorp HS, Staten Island, NY – Class of 2014

Watch below to see how VEI prepared Toyin to face challenges in college and the rest of his life.


Pictured below: Anthony Lewis (Class of 2011), Angel Cepedes (Class of 2011), Catherine Perez (CEO, T-Squared, NYC)

Not pictured: Vonzell Byrd (CEO, TigerTech, Inc., Chicago), Slav Kuzmin (Class of 2009), Saul Lopez (CEO, Art Beat, CA), Crystal Helton (VP of Marketing, Eden’s Confections, SC), Jordan Knox (CEO, Versorna, NYC), Bri Smith (Class of 2013), Rosalvens Saint Jean (CEO, 10 Chefs N’ A Gourmet Bundle, Boston), Nathaly Lopez (Class of 2005)

This group of eleven current and former students handled the stage like seasoned business professionals and captivated the guests even more than the breathtaking view of Manhattan’s nighttime skyline.

Watch Mr. Boccio explain why New York Life is a strong supporter of VEI. Introduction by Josuel Plasencia (Class of 2013)

Watch Mr. Hidary’s powerful acceptance speech and his reasons for why VEI is so critical in preparing students to thrive in today’s economy.


Check out photos below to see the students in action, and consider making a contribution to ensure VEI students can continue finding their voice