Fifth and sixth graders from Hutto Middle School spoke with their teacher, Randi New and principal, Roy Mathews, about their annual market day. From left in the front are Viviana Scheylar, Mackenzie Pickle, Jack Burke, Conner Poitevint, Back: Mathews, Wyatt Wilson, Cesar Chiguil and New.
Fifth and sixth graders from Hutto Middle School spoke with their teacher, Randi New and principal, Roy Mathews, about their annual market day. From left in the front are Viviana Scheylar, Mackenzie Pickle, Jack Burke, Conner Poitevint, Back: Mathews, Wyatt Wilson, Cesar Chiguil and New.
 

Young entrepreneurs talk about successful marketing strategies

Published 10:37pm Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Bainbridge Rotary Club was honored Tuesday to be visited by State Representative Darlene Taylor, Georgia Insurance Commissioner, Ralph Hudgens and his wife Suzanne, and six young entrepreneurs — all fifth and six graders from the Hutto Middle School Panther Team Economic Project .
The program was brought to Rotary by Paxton Poitevint, whose son Conner is one of the young businessmen. After being introduced by their teacher, Randi New, each of the students gave a description of the various factors that go into marketing, sales and making a profit.
They hold a Market Day each year that allows each student to produce a product they believe is in demand. Then they set up store fronts and advertise their product in ways to attract “customers” – other students. At the end of the market, the tickets, (or sales) are tallied, the business owners look at their costs and figure their profits.
As one student explained it, you’d better have a profit if you want a good grade.
Toward the end of the school year, the students studied Africa and howl much lower the standard of living is compared to the U.S.
They particularly honed in on Uganda, as Mrs. New was planning to go on a medical mission trip there. The children made 18 T-shirt dresses, T-shirts and gathered school supplies for her to take with her. After New’s return the students were able to see pictures of the Ugandan orphans wearing the clothing. They also learned of how people had to walk for miles for water, and how contaminated water caused death and disease. The local students had to find a way to help.
They decided to hold another market called Merry Market where products brought real money from customers comprised of teachers, family members and friends. The class raised $2,100, which was donated to Pennies for Posho for construction of a new well at one of the orphanages. It is now underway.
The Ugandan Thunder Choir, a group of singers and dancers from the Ugandan orphanages, is currently on tour in the U.S. and performed Tuesday at Hutto Middle School.
The water project led to even more STEM learning methods — the application of science, technology, engineering and math — as the students have begun building water filters and learning how clean water can make a real difference in people’s lives.
The students described some of the products they made and sold as: paracord bracelets, leather bracelets, pot holders, sachets to hang in lockers, “clippies” -  a notebook with a clip attached that will hold pencils, duct tape wallets. One boy made squirrel calls, which he said made a sound just like a squirrel eating a nut. He said the girls liked them so well he began making pink ones.
Mrs. New complimented the students for their enthusiasm and creativity, saying, “These are our future entrepreneurs.”

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