Economics students at Mahomet-Seymour High School not only learned how to run a business by selling cookies during the fall semester, but raised over $2,900 that they donated to Operation Christmas Child last week.
“Once all the numbers were added up, and we saw how much we made, we realized that’s a lot of gifts,” student Allison Herman said. “I wasn’t expecting to get that much money out of the project.”
Mahomet-Seymour Economics classes have sold cookies during the lunch hours for years, but in the past, students split up the revenue between themselves. Because of Michelle Obama’s Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, schools can only have unhealthy snacks, such as cookies, available during the lunch hour if the school is raising money for a non-profit organization.
Economics teacher Nic Difilippo met with students early in the school year to identify an organization the students would like to support. The students wanted to keep the money within the Mahomet community. By choosing Operation Christmas Child, the money will be used to buy Christmas presents for students within the Mahomet-Seymour School District.
The cookie sale project also taught students about all the details that go into running a profitable business.
Team leaders were chosen by teachers at the beginning of the school year. Students interested in leading a group were required to write a paper and submit a resume.
Once a leader was chosen for each of five groups, teams were developed by a “blind” hiring.
“We had the option of who we hired,” Mitch Hockman said. “You knew who it was. You knew this person inside of school. There were many people who we thought were great fits, but turned out not to be (a great fit in the business).”
Team leaders said they knew it would be important to choose teams based on applicants strengths to make their business run effectively. Applicants were chosen based on their baking skills, math knowledge or advertising background.
Students learned how to pay attention to details quickly as they had to find investors for their company and sell t-shirts to raise money to purchase supplies. With little input from their teacher, the students had to figure out how to price supplies and cookies in order to make a profit.
Although the groups were successful in their fundraising, groups were also surprised to learn how intentional they needed to be about product care and presentation throughout the semester. Scheduling workers and product production were also hurdles the students had to overcome.
“I believe this taught us great organizational skills,” Hockman said.
Isaac Eckberg plans to take the information he has learned through the cookie sales with him to college as he hopes to start a 3D printing business.
Economic students in the spring semester will also raise money for a local organization. Fall students said they will just sit back and watch as their peers figure out how to run their own business.