Business classes work towards bettering West


Kate Kealey

As the term comes to an end, junior Sam Petri, seniors Drew Loving, and Josh Loving, and junior Austyn Strong discuss how their projects turned out.

Kate Kealey, Editor in Chief

When walking into room 106, don’t expect to see students sitting in single filled desks and taking notes off a Powerpoint while a teacher drags on about internet marketing. Instead one will find students sitting in groups laughing and discussing their work.

Principles of Marketing is a high-level business class taught by business education teacher Colin Gisel. In this class students gather into groups at the beginning of the term and pick a project to show the life cycle of a product.

During second block seniors Brady Pratt and Izzy Sheumaker, and juniors Caliah Klinghammer and Sam Petri formed a project to benefit West’s music department. The group sold items such as t-shirts, crewnecks, sweatshirts and long sleeved shirts.

Their goal was to raise $1,000 for the music department and they surpassed that goal by almost $200 dollars. Pratt says the money will be divided up among the orchestra, choir and band and each organization will get $200-300.

“It will put more money in the bank accounts, [and] that money could send a student to an honor band or choir; it could pay for a field trip to see a concert in Chicago or at the Adler theatre. It buys robes, marching band uniforms, strings bows for orchestra, and pays for the band’s sheet music. A lot of the stuff that racks up,” Pratt said.

Gisel believes the team has done a good job going through the business process such as communicating with an outside business, figuring out where their start up capital is coming from and finding out what their sales pitch is, but it doesn’t stop there.

“Those are all good business lessons, but now it is question of how they can go above and beyond that and what is the next step in the process. It is never just one simple thing, there is always the next step and so trying to push students in that direction is the difficult part,” Gisel said.

Throughout the project the team did hit a few bumps, just like a real business would. As the group was collecting money they realized they had more money than orders. Sheumaker explained that they had to go through all the orders only to find out they had missed an order.

Gisel believes that mistakes like these are good for students to experience and hopes to provide an environment where it is okay to take risks and fail.

“Some of the other products haven’t gone so well, but they are still learning. So they don’t have physical dollar sales, but even if you do something that is not correct you’re still learning what not to do and what people don’t like. In education it’s our job to provide an environment where failure is okay and that students can take risks and see how things work out,” Gisel said.

Another group consists of seniors Brady McIntyre, Drew Loving, Josh Loving, Amber Curtis, and junior Austyn Strong. Their project was aimed towards increasing the enrollment numbers in business classes as well as bring more business classes to West.

Mclntyre feels that all the business classes are looked over throughout the school and hopes to change that.

“I feel these classes are truly beneficial for kids and students in the future should have the same opportunity as me now, and I don’t want them to lose it. So it was our job to go around and advertise it and try to give people the same opportunity that we have,” McIntyre said.

The group started small by going to classes and just asking students who might interested in taking the courses. After getting down their names, the group emailed the students and ask when they could meet with these students to discuss the opportunity at hand.

“If you don’t find it interesting after the first class, you aren’t stuck in it for the rest of your high school career. Even if you don’t take all the classes, the classes you do take will give you skills that will help for your future career,” J. Loving said.

The students that are interested have their names given to counselors to be put in the classes for the following year. All together the group has recruited over 300 students into the business program.

Since the class is mostly project based, it gives students a sense of freedom they might not get in other classes, but will in the workforce.

“You get to do your own thing and talk to people without having to sit in a desk and listen to a teacher which can get boring after a while. It is all hands on,” D. Loving said.