Chambersburg students hope cookies, cocoa add up to business success

December 24, 2007|By DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Despite a mix-up in the recipe that left them virtually inedible, the M&M cookies made the cut last week in Jayson Wetherald's manufacturing enterprise course and will be sold to students at Faust Junior High School.

"They taste like saltwater," eighth-grader Erin Longfellow said of the cookies, who also noted they had the best visual appeal. That was because the student who mixed the dry ingredients put in a cup of salt, instead of a teaspoon, as called for in the recipe.

Still, these budding capitalists figured the M&M cookies, along with the peanut butter blossoms and the jumbo chocolate cookies they made, would sell - once that recipe gaffe is rectified. The students also voted in favor of the creamy hot chocolate over the white hot chocolate, which will be peddled along with the cookies at bus stops and elsewhere as chilled Faust students get off the bus this winter.


"I think the regular is better because more people will prefer the old-fashioned hot chocolate," said Hannah Irvin.

From concept and testing to market research, manufacturing and sales, the students are learning the process of taking an idea and turning it into money.

In 2004, there were 24.7 million businesses in the United States and more than 99 percent had 500 or fewer employees, qualifying as small businesses, according to the Small Business Administration. The majority of those are sole proprietorships with no employees.

Based on those figures, most of the dozen or so students in Wetherald's class are going to work in a small business one day and some of them, perhaps Gracie McDonald, will be the owner.

"I want to go into business. I want to own a business. Either a coffee shop or a restaurant," McDonald said. "I thought this class would help with that. Right now, I'm loving it."

Because of that attitude, she is also president of the yet-to-be-named company the students have formed for their academic exercise in the free market.

"Gracie is very good at taking charge. I think she'll do well," Wetherald said.

Longfellow and Irvin, the vice presidents of this enterprise, are a bit less sure about their career paths.

"I have no idea," said Longfellow.

"Same as her," said Irvin.

The students will be investing some money to produce the products they will sell.

"If we make a profit, we get that money back," said McDonald.

These junior executives figured about $10 per student.

Wetherald wrote the curriculum for the new course last spring. As the students progress toward the product roll-out, he told them they will have to develop a manufacturing system that is efficient and price the product for the market - junior high school students.

Marketing, he said, will include television commercials produced and aired in the school, as well as posters.

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