Struthers High School students design products, run store in school
By Graig Graziosi
A group of Struthers High School students is turning a profit while earning a grade in their entrepreneurship class.
The students attending Struthers teacher Nick Shuluga’s entrepreneurship class not only learn the history behind famous business people but also learn practical financial skills and gain experience running a small school apparel store.
“The first thing we do is look at the history of individual entrepreneurs,” Shuluga said. “Then, once we’re through history, we look at different aspects of entrepreneurship, like time management, financial planning, marketing and utilizing social media.”
Kevin Caldwell, 18, values the practical aspects of the class the most.
“We learn about stuff that actually matters,” Caldwell said. “We talk about general life skills like saving money and keeping bank accounts and things like that.”
When the students aren’t focused on the academic end of the class, they’re working to develop and sell products at the school store they operate from their classroom.
Students are broken up into groups of designers, manufacturers, marketers and inventory managers and spend class time developing designs and marketing their products, mostly to other students.
Tyler Johnson, 18, and Paige Patterson, 16, work on different ends of the production process. Patterson enjoys coming up with designs for apparel, and Johnson takes those designs and creates the physical products with them.
The group is selling hooded sweatshirts and quarter-zip jackets with a variety of “Wildcat”-related designs. Shuluga said eventually the group will begin work on branded key lanyards, thermal tumblers and hat designs.
The materials used in the class are purchased through the school’s general fund, but the store generates enough money to repay the fund and turn a small profit.
“We take our profits and reinvest them directly into the store,” Shuluga said.
Students interested in buying the items can visit the store throughout the day or immediately after school, and soon will be able to order them online. Shuluga’s classes have 40 students and are open to all Struthers High freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors.