During the heated presidential race, there was much ado about how future policies would impact job creators. However, a group of students at Menomonee Falls High School are bypassing that whole debate.
Instead, they’re getting hands-on experience creating their own jobs.
MFHS business teacher Michelle Oliver, who became a teacher after years in sales and marketing, challenged her students to find a product or service to market and sell to the public. The group of students in the yearlong entrepreneurship class are now locked in a competition to see which of their products generates the highest profit.
The timing couldn’t be better. The holidays are just around the corner and there are plenty of great stocking stuffers from these young business leaders. Students are selling tasty treats, Indians athletics themed iPhone cases, socks, T-shirts, lanyards, sunglasses, water bottles, and rubber wristbands. Check out the photo gallery for more information about their products.
“I love sales and marketing, and I’m passionate about both. I love to teach this class for the students,” Oliver said. “In almost any career they go into, they can use the skills they've learned. They can use them personally and professionally.”
During this project, the students were challenged to market and conduct public relations campaigns to create a buzz about their product. The winning group gets to keep its profits, and the remaining nine need to donate profits to a charity of their choice.
And competition is fierce amongst these young capitalists. The walls of MFHS were covered with posters advertising their products Wednesday. Will VanderHorst already posted his group’s T-shirt campaign on Patch. Devon Nauer even stopped in between class for a mini practicum in public relations with this Patch editor.
“Our group is selling iPhone cases. It’s a maroon case that says ‘Forever Indians’ and has the logo on it. They are $19.99 and we can sell for iPhone 4, 4S, and now 5,” Nauer said. “We think it’s an up-and-coming market so we feel a lot of people will be interested.”
Nauer said the biggest competition is coming from the sock group, which landed a big deal. The varsity football team will wear the black socks with the Indians logo next season, and it was a big sell for the group.
“The project really reinforces the principles they learned. They can read all about the concepts, but they need to experience it for themselves,” Oliver said. “There is real competition with their classmates. There’s price competition. They are also emotionally involved. Sometimes it’s not the grade they're after, they just want to win.”
In the next half of the entrepreneurship class, students will individually craft a small business proposal and learn the ins and outs of running their business. It’s the third year of the program at the high school.
If you are interested in purchasing any of the students’ products, please contact Oliver at firstname.lastname@example.org and she’ll connect you with the right entrepreneur.