Students’ Entrepreneurship Experience

Alison Kuznitz
EE Senior Opinions Editor

On the very first day of school, Mr. Manuel told his students enrolled in the Entrepreneurship elective that at the end of the semester, they would be walking away with a check from the class.

All the way back in September, it sounded too good to be true that students could actually get paid by taking a class. Yet, Mr. Manuel’s words are finally becoming a reality after months of learning about famous entrepreneurs, market research, and more. Since last week, the two Entrepreneurship classes have certainly been busy with the launch of their new products on sale.

“Entrepreneurship is basically a class that’s aligned with the Junior Achievement philosophy where the class itself creates a business,” says Mrs. Owen, department chair of the business department. “They start a business, they determine a product that they want to sell for that business, they all invest in the corporation, and…[they are] basically understanding what it takes to run a business. And at the end…[they] close out the business [and] the students earn a benefit from the profits.”

Although the final project in which the classes take on the role of a corporation is by far the highlight of the course, Entrepreneurship offers an extensive curriculum, which is designed to expose students to all of the involved aspects of business as well. For instance, a portion of the first quarter was devoted to exploring characteristics of entrepreneurs, and identifying which qualities are crucial to running a successful business. Others topics such as goal-setting, family businesses, franchises, methods to prevent business failure, and writing a business plan were also discussed in detail.

This diverse curriculum has gradually evolved over the past eight years since Mr. Manuel took over the class. Besides rewriting major components of the curriculum and updating facts to increase relevancy, Mr. Manuel also significantly altered the demand for the class. Currently, Mrs. Owen estimates six sections could potentially run per year as opposed to the current four sections.
Once students complete the Entrepreneurship course, Mr. Manuel hopes his students will take away specific concepts and utilize them in their future wherever business is a factor.

“I hope they understand the value of a dollar,” stated Mr. Manuel. “I hope they understand what it takes to be successful within business. It’s my goal of each individual student just to have them have a better understanding of the business process and how to maximize profits and successes.”
Considering this much anticipated business venture is in full swing currently, there are several important factors to note. First of all, each class is completely separate in regards to the product, investments, business plan, advertisements, policies, and promotions. Each class has a leadership team comprised of five elected individuals with specific job descriptions.
This year, Period 3 Entrepreneurship decided to sell T-shirts, while Period 7 opted for wristbands. Both companies aim to unify as a class and maximize on the strengths of each individual. This will not only spread the most awareness of their product and allow for high sales, but also lead to an increased school spirit throughout THS.

According to Josh Dumas, President of BNG, Inc. for Period 3, “We are selling black T-shirts that say Trumbull Eagles on the front and ‘Bleed Black and Gold’ on the back. We’re selling short sleeve and long sleeve options. The short sleeve will be $12 and the long sleeve will be $15.”
Dumas, along with other students from his class period, commented that the decision to sell T-shirts was extremely difficult since there are 27 students in the class. Consequently, various other products and designs were proposed to hone in on “Eagle pride” prior to the class arriving at their ultimate decision. Despite this time-consuming and complicated process, everyone from the class is eager to sell these shirts and contribute to a hopeful new surge of school pride.

“I’m really looking forward to seeing everyone wearing our shirt. I think it will really unify the school, kind of give us all something in common…” said Period 3 Vice President of Marketing Jamie Appelberg. “The shirt’s not just for the athlete, it’s not just for the normal student, it’s not for staff, it’s for everyone. It’s like a common factor we all have, which I think is pretty cool.”
Meanwhile, Period 7 chose their spirit wristbands in a quicker and more unanimous fashion. They primarily chose wristbands because it serves as an easy, affordable product. The wristbands come in the two THS school colors of black and gold, and boast an almost identical slogan as Period 3, “Bleed Black” and “Bleed Gold.” One wristband is priced at $3, or a combination of two wristbands can be purchased for $4.
Privthi Mahesh, President of Black Hole Bands, Inc. for Period 7, echoed Appleberg’s sentiments regardi7ng their ambitious goals for raising school spirit.

“Definitely one of the first things I wanted to do with creating or choosing a project was to increase school spirit,” remarked Mahesh.
Students may not realize the hard work and logistics required to pull of a project of this magnitude, from being granted official approval to sell by Mr. Guarino to maintaining detailed records for sales and inventory.

“I don’t think that students fully recognize that it’s not all about money. There’s a lot of preparation that goes into being prepared to sell a product,” added Mr. Manuel. “There’s a lot of design issues, there’s a lot of inventory issues. Strong recordkeeping is very important, advertising and marketing is important.”

For the past eight years, this class has been extremely successful. Every class has made a profit, and achieved their dictated financial and non-financial goals. Hopefully, these two classes will also attain an equal amount of success as they endeavor on their business venture.
“I’m just really proud of the program and I’m proud of the work the students have done as well as Mr. Manuel,” said Mrs. Owen. “I think he does a great job of motivating the student and the students really take their responsibilities seriously; that ends in a successful result.”
If any students are interested in buying these products, they may speak to student representatives during the school day or at events occurring on campus.

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