Students become business owners

Middle school students at Pansophia Academy are learning what it takes to be an entrepreneur through the school’s Youth Entrepreneurs class, under the direction of Tracy Bailey and Kyle Burke.

With the extension class, students learn through hands-on training and programing the steps — beginning to end — of owning a business.

Bailey said students spent the first semester doing various activities to prepare for the final test in the second semester.

That final test happened Thursday with students opening the figurative doors to their new restaurants, down the middle school hallway.

Their peers were able to place an order, pay for their meal and be served from either the dessert, taco or sundae bars.

“What they are doing is real life scenarios, what it would be like to own a business,” Burke said.

At the beginning of the project, students were give a loan through the national Youth Entrepreneurs organization, which offers curriculum to middle and high schools around the country as a way to teach entrepreneurship, to purchase the food and other products needed for the final project.

“Students must pay off their loans first then are able to split the money between each of them in their group and spend it on whatever they want,” Bailey said. “It’s just like having their own business”

Bailey said students had to prepare and present a business plan of sorts in order to receive the loan.

“I learned a lot about what goes into owning a business,” said Ashley Cardenas, student at Pansophia Academy and a member of the YE class.

Pansohpia student and YE class member Sam Thorne said one thing he learned is that owning a business is a lot of work but something he is glad he knows.

Bailey said students spent an entire day shopping for all their items and learned the ins and outs of shopping on a budget, including comparison shopping.

Allonso Gonzalez, YE student, said he didn’t realize how much money local businesses spend on their products and how little they may get in return. He said he has a new appreciation for small and large business owners.

Burke said the class will be offered again next year to the middle school students as well as the high school students.