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FMS business showcased at PU

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JUDGES: A group of business experts ask questions of a group of Frankfort Middle School students Wednesday at Purdue University.
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THE DAWG HOUSE: Frankfort seventh-graders, from left, Eli Grasham, Dezi Martin, Paige Butcher and Jasilynn Houze speak to a young girl about their products while inside the Krannert building on the campus of Purdue University. Not pictured isIzael Meza.

By AARON KENNEDY - akennedy@ftimes.com

Cathy Stout’s seventh grade entrepreneurship class at Frankfort Middle School brought its in-school business, “The Dawg House” to the Classroom Business Enterprise Showcase in the Krannert School of Business on Wednesday at Purdue University.

The event serves as a market where students display their products and business start-ups. Classrooms received funding, training and support from the Purdue Center for Economic Education, which coordinates the program and the annual showcase. The Indiana Council for Economic Education also provides support, helping to extend the program across Indiana.

In Stout’s class, students design, create and sell handmade crafts.

“In our entrepreneurial class, we learn about business ownership and go through economic terms as well as entrepreneurial terms,” Stout said. “Our goal is to learn about the decision-making process that goes into making a product. We decide what kind of materials we need to make the product. Sometimes the students decide what they will be making. They find out what the materials cost and who we will sell it to.”

Eight years ago, Stout started bringing products to the fall craft show in order to highlight the students’ work.

“I have been doing the spring craft show, which was (April 6),” she said. “The kids run that entire thing. They help vendors bring in their stuff, and they run the concession stand. They are basically doing all the work at the craft shows.”

Just four days after the spring craft show, Stout’s class showcased their products at Purdue and received constructive feedback from business experts from both Purdue and local corporations.

I think they did very well,” Stout said. “They have two people who go through and interview the students. I was quite pleased with the feedback that they gave us.

“I think the kids enjoyed it,” she added. “They were nervous to start with. They had all these adults coming at them with questions. But, once they started talking, they began to shine. They knew all the information they needed to know. I was very proud. I think they represented our school well.”

“Research suggests that providing professional development to teachers and integrating authentic learning experiences are effective ways to help student better understand and apply economic thinking and financial decision making in their lives,” said Jeff Samson, executive director of the Indiana Council for Economic Education in the Department of Agricultural Economics. “The decision making that students experience in the CBE program could be applied not only to future entrepreneurial endeavors, but also later in life as they weigh the job and career prospects of a given education path, or assess the cost of education and their ability to repay based on potential earnings.”

With a new class rotating into her room, Stout says that they will be making something new to sell at school this six weeks and that they will continue to sell the products made by her last class.