High school students in Crystal Kohman-Smith’s class will be open for business on Saturday. Crazy K’s Carnival will take place at the high school gym. The business essentials class has a successful model to follow — last year’s class opened an Italian restaurant for one night that was labor intensive but yielded a profit of $2500.
Bryson Cruz is the general manager, selected on the basis of a strong resume and interview. He’s in charge, but all 25 students in the class have assignments.
Nobody gets to “hide,” as they might do in a traditional classroom, Kohman-Smith said. “They’re accountable to their peers.”
Each student presented two ideas for a business and the final selection was made by vote.
“I loved going to the Southwest Carnival,” Cruz said, and this one will be similar, with concessions, games, a cakewalk, bouncy house, slide and obstacle course. “It will attract a lot of kids and families,” he predicted.
Any good business person knows that a plan is essential. Developing the plan was the hardest part of the semester-long project, students agreed, but they divided it up so everyone on the leadership team had a section.
They’ve defined the parameters of the business. Outlined the financing needed. Developed a contingency plan. Prepared all the supporting documents. The next step was to take it to the “bank,” in this case, to administrators at Pratt High School.
They were nervous going in Cruz admitted, but once they started talking, they were okay.
“They gave us some good pointers,” he said.
Administrators also pointed out some things the students had overlooked. Assistant Principal Curtis Nightingale told them they would need liability insurance for a proposed dunk tank. The students checked with an agent, Kohman-Smith said, and determined the cost was too high for one night.
The school district provided $300 in startup costs, Alco, Walmart and Dillons donated to the project, and each student kicked in $10 to buy supplies. After they pay the bills, each student gets his or her investment back, along with a share of 70 percent of the profit. Thirty percent goes back to the school.
The best part of the project, in fact the whole class, has been working together.
“Everybody’s trying to help each other out,” Samaria Kohman said.
Kohman-Smith teaches some traditional lessons, as background information, but the business is the focus of the class, providing real-world experience. She has two sections of business essentials this year — the 25-student class planning the carnival, and a 12-member class that will hold a dance next week.