Enterprising business students in New London are running a snack stand and opening a pro shop. They’re campaigning for recycling and against texting while driving, and writing musical jingles to promote these projects.
Eight young entrepreneurs from the School of Enterprise Marketing at New London High School pitched their products and crusades to the New London Board of Education at its Monday, Nov. 11, meeting.
Dressed for business success, they were poised, prepared and passionate about their endeavors.
Grace Mroczynski, who is organizing a new downtown retail store called Percy’s Pro Shop, said she plans a career in business.
Mroczynski, a junior, said Percy’s will sell Bulldog apparel as well as ceramics and wood items made by students. Marketing students created the business plan, found space to lease at Familiar Grounds, decided what to sell and will staff the holiday shop, scheduled to open Dec. 5.
Senior Brett Handschke said he never took a business class until now.
Handschke described a positive reception among students and staff to his efforts to revamp and promote recycling at the high school. Teachers who were using boxes for recycling paper have asked for his collection bins, he said.
Teacher Melissa Porath told the board that 40 students are enrolled in the project-based, career oriented program that emphasizes problem solving, critical thinking and collaboration.
Each student must complete 75 hours of project work in the semester, in the form of three 25-hour projects or one or two bigger projects.
Organizing the Coats for Kids campaign, senior Amy Niemuth said she was amazed by the community support when she expanded her efforts outside the high school. More than 100 coats were collected.
Other projects rely on collaboration with customers.
Senior Emily Sommer said she is trying to offer more healthy selections at the Dawg Dish, which caters to students staying after school for sports practice.
Sommer is adjusting her inventory to suit students’ likes, dislikes and suggestions. She hopes to stock fresh fruit and granola bars along with a popular Arnold Palmer drink.
“I’m interested in business as a career,” she said. “It’s pretty cool to see how it all works.”
Senior Brandi Polanco’s project overlaps with many of the others.
Polanco brought her guitar to play and sing original jingles she created to promote these businesses. Her skill showed in clever lyrics and catchy tunes.
The board also heard from senior Caitlin Schmidt, who is conducting a public relations campaign called True Beauty. It aims to promote self-esteem and good values among middle school girls.
And senior Amber Pethke and junior Maddie Schroeder described their campaign to get people to pledge not to text while driving. Schroeder held up a thick ring binder of signed pledges. They offer rubber thumb rings as an anti-texting reminder.
Board president Keith Steckbauer asked about funding for materials and supplies for the fledgling businesses.
Porath said concessions, fundraising, sponsorships, donations and sales of items through the projects help with finances.