PJ Entrepreneur Students Start New Business


Director of Communications

Pope John XXIII Regional High School


SPARTA — Traditionally, if high school students wanted to make money, they would work a part-time job at a restaurant or local establishment or do chores around the house.

Pope John XXIII Regional High School juniors Billy Guthrie, Ben Tybur, and Sarah Duchaney are not your typical working high school students. 

That’s because the three students have started a company called LIFTZ, a company that focuses on forming a global community of athletes by providing support with workouts and meal plans. So far, they have already made substantial income.

The group came up with the idea to start LIFTZ through Pope John High School’s Principles of Entrepreneurship class. Under the direction of Pope John business department chair Brian Carlson, students in the class get a feel for what it is like to be a person who starts his or her own business and tries to make it a successful enough company that it can possibly earn potential investments from business tycoons one day.

“It’s amazing being a junior in high school and having a real business,” Guthrie said. “It’s a dream to be able to do this at such a young age.”

“It’s great to be able to start a business with friends of mine and get it off the ground,” Tybur said. “It’s pretty cool to do all these things in business as a 16-year-old.”

“It’s cool to do this as young as we are,” Duchaney said. “I’m learning so much about this field, the business, and all the lessons that you need to understand to be an entrepreneur.”

The vision for LIFTZ came from Guthrie and Tybur, who are the co-founders. Guthrie, who plays football for Pope John and trains for the sport four days a week, and Tybur, who is a swimmer and track and field athlete for Pope John, wanted to build a subscription-based online platform that people could input their personalized goals and follow workouts and meal plans to help achieve those goals. They have done that through their website https://liftzstrong.com/.

“Whether you want to be a big-time athlete or a person who just wants to get in shape, LIFTZ puts you in the best position possible to accomplish your goals,” Guthrie said. 

“The driving force behind this is that there is too much information out there,” Tyber said. “We’re trying to aggregate all of the quality information about nutrition, workouts, and goals for people.”

The group has even received expert advice from Bill Parisi, the founder and CEO of Parisi Speed School who met with them on a ZOOM call last Thursday for about a half hour. Parisi is also an internationally recognized fitness business expert who has lectured to a number of sports- and health-related organizations from the NFL, Nike and Reebok, to the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association, the American College of Sports Medicine, the National Strength and Conditioning Association and the American Council on Exercise.

“It’s amazing to be able to make connections with people such as Mr. Parisi,” Guthrie said. “We want to learn from the best people in the industry so our company can grow.”

The group knows they have a long way to go to achieve their goal of making LIFTZ a smashing success, but it feels appreciative for gaining this type of real-world experience. 

“Taking this class and applying the lessons we are learning to real life is amazing,” Duchaney said.

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