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John Gregg Entrepreneurs Achieve Success

Fifth- and sixth-graders at John Gregg Elementary School have found success as young entrepreneurs after raising more than $1,000 at a recent event.

   The students peddled hand-made goods at an entrepreneur’s market held during the school art show on March 14, and it not only made enough money to sustain future projects but a portion will also benefit a local charity. Teachers Kelly Dopp and Brooke Barker, who lead the school enrichment program, said about 15 students took part in the event and got a chance to learn about the process firsthand.

   “Each student picked a product they wanted to create from origami and stress balls to keychains and soaps,” said Dopp. “About 300 people attended the art show. It was so profitable that we sold out and took orders.”

   The students selected the products through a “Shark Tank”-related scenario and also had to create a logo, business plan and pricing for their goods.  Dopp said supplies were funded through a $660 Jefferson County Educational Service Center Best Practice Grant she received for the project, which is meant to be self-sustaining. Proceeds from the sales helped refill the till to finance the next program with about $400 going to an as-yet-named cause.

   “We made $1,003 that night and spent $600 of the grant, which we will replenish and use in the future,” she added. “About $400 will go to charity and we will vote on the charity to donate to.”

   Students were busy filling the extra orders and deciding which program or programs would receive a donation, and many of them were excited to raise money and become businesspeople in their own right.

   “I feel good about doing it,” said Dallas Hayes, a fifth-grader who created fidgets from a 3-D printer.

   “I had fun making [cards],” added fifth-grader Carson Ensinger.

   “It was really fun to make mine,” said fifth-grader Casher Dopp, who made homemade churros. “I was really proud that it was successful.”

   “I was surprised to see the variety of [items] and the people were interested,” said sixth-grader Maddy Keister, who created original paintings to sell.

    “It was extremely fun being able to do a project,” noted sixth-grader Logan Diley, who sold slime at the school market.

    Others such as fifth-graders Kendall Barker made beaded bracelets and Adalyn Swearingen created slime while classmate Bryson Moses said he and the other students had a matter of weeks to create the products. Among their charitable choices were animal shelters, homeless organizations and food pantries and Kelly Dopp said a list would be generated with the top vote-getter receiving the donation.

    Meanwhile, Brooke Barker said it was a great way for students to help themselves and others.

   “They came up with the idea and created a business plan. We took them through the whole process of what it takes to run your own little business and [Edison High School career counselor] Leah Eft spoke about careers, plus we had Kenzie Everhart, a high school student who runs her Pleased Pooches dog treat business, talk to them.”

   The teachers said they plan to hold the entrepreneur’s market every other year.

   “It’s a chance for us to showcase our enrichment students,” Dopp said. “We’re also very appreciative of the community, administrators, board members, parents and grandparents who came to the show. We’re very grateful that they came out to support the kids.”