Students Start their Own Business
Between the popularity of shows like The Apprentice and success stories like Bill Gates, big business has generated big interest. But behind success are goals, plans and a lot of work. Some young people in Columbia are starting early when it comes to taking on the business world.
Take a healthy demand for experience and an enthusiastic supply of students, and you're in business& with Mrs. Baugh's creative living class at Oakland Junior High. One student says the class got started making purses to make money.
"We started the purses because we wanted to adopt a family for the Christmas trees, and we needed money to buy them presents for Christmas," 9th grader Ashleigh McDonald says.
These students may have been looking for a way to earn some Christmas cash, but they wound up collecting some valuable lessons along the way.
"I guess it's a good experience for us like if we do want to open our own business," 9th grader Daniel Edwards says.
"It's very very important that people understand how things operate financially," Donald Laird of the Columbia Chamber of Commerce says.
Those in Mrs. Baugh's class really want to understand the keys to industry.
"We're learning like how to make profit, that's what we're mostly learning, because it took that much money to get all the material, and we made all the profit back," McDonald says.
And they learned the practical can also be enjoyable.
"Daniel in there, he was carrying around a purse; he wants to show it off," 9th grader Grashus Ellis says.
"Yeah, they was telling me that it was a good look for me, and I was like, and I was telling them it was for my class, and I was just trying to sell stuff," Edwards says.
Between a little unconventional advertising and a lot of hard work, students studying money matters are finding out what makes the world, and themselves, tick.
"In the end what they want to try and do is find a profession or a type of job that makes them happy and enjoyable and they feel it's rewarding," Laird says.
But lessons in commerce aren't quite enough to secure these futures. Students at schools across Mid-Missouri, like Shannon Slavit at Columbia Catholic School, are learning from those already playing the field.
"Save your money so then in the future, like when you want to retire you can because you'll have money, so then you won't have to keep working," Slavit says.
And there isn't just one formula for fiscal responsibility.
"Save like from 10, 20 or 30% of each paycheck you get, like starting from like right now," Columbia Catholic School 8th grader Jackson Portell says.
"Like, I opened a bank account, and I put half of it in the bank, and I kept the other half in my pocket," Edwards says.
So filling pockets, expanding the bottom line, and building limitless opportunities pave the way for bigger dreams.
"I want to have my own barber shop," Edwards says.
"I just want a Lamborghini," Slavit says.
Whether learning in a classroom or from experience, the students say they see the value in knowing how to make and manage their money. Whether these young people plan to go into business or have other ideas for their future, they raised their voices and said fiscal responsibility is a priceless life skill.
Some local schools bring in professionals to discuss how they've succeeded in the business world, and give students another peek into what concepts they need to understand fiscal responsibility. And next year a new state board of education requirement will come into effect so that all students will have to take a class in personal finance.