Enterprising high school students teach business at local eleme

Friday, December 3, 2004

The Jackson FBLA is teaching economics through the American Enterprise Project.

By Callie Clark ~ Southeast Missourian

It was her first lesson in accounting, but Sarah Mitchell knew what "in the red" meant without any hints.

"It means you're in trouble," she said. Around her, fellow fifth-graders nodded their heads in agreement.

The students -- all from North Elementary -- are taking part in the American Enterprise Project, which brings students from Jackson High School into fifth grade classrooms for hands-on lessons in business.

The lessons run about an hour each day for a week and cover issues such as customer service, marketing and employment. They're part of a community service project by the JHS Future Business Leaders of American organization, which is made up of more than 200 Jackson high school students.

On Thursday, the older students discussed accounting with the fifth-graders, covering bank accounts, income, expenses and the proper way to fill out checks.

Various grocery items, such as cereal bars, salsa and plastic baggies, were set out around the room and students "shopped" for items then wrote out checks to pay for them.

Earlier in the week, the elementary students made posters and video-taped commercials.

The high schools students also helped them create their own businesses and develop corresponding slogans.

"It's a very good experience for all of us teaching these lessons and it's also good for the elementary kids to interact with high-schoolers," said Chelsea Morton, an FBLA member who helped organize the project.

FBLA members will write a report on the project and submit it in a competition against other chapters' projects.

Last year, the enterprise project took first place in the FBLA national contest.

"I think the kids really absorb a lot of this, and they're having fun," said Morton. "It's an introduction to stuff before they get to the age where they actually have to do it."

cclark@semissourian.com

335-6611, ext. 128

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