Linnea Higgs

Linnea Higgs

Students learn to earn

Entrepreneur project aims to teach South Surrey elementary students valuable business skills.

The gym at Semiahmoo Trail Elementary was a haven of unique and carefully priced options for eager shoppers of all ages Friday, as Grade 7 students put their entrepreneurial skills to the test.

“Would you like to see my business plan?” Linnae Higgs, 11, offers a visitor who pauses to peruse her table of hand-knitted miniature pillows.

The tiny cushions, stuffed with cotton batting, were made “with a little help from my mom and some Christmas magic,” Higgs says.

Selling for $2.75 each, Higgs said she had hoped to walk away with at least $15 profit, and – one hour in – was “pretty sure” she’d meet her goal.

The fair, held for two hours Friday afternoon, is an annual project, led for the past four years by teachers Jacqueline St. Cyr and Kim Chahal.

Ava BrozerThe students spend about three weeks preparing; learning everything from marketing strategies to calculating unit cost and profit – all skills “quite relevant” to life after their school years, St. Cyr said.

They also spend time researching and developing their products, with visitors Friday able to peruse everything from ornaments and body lotions to pet rocks and key chains.

Halfway through the fair, St. Cyr was confident describing the venture as a success.

“We have quite a few students who have sold out; all of them have reached their goal,” she said.

Ava Brozer, who made Christmas-themed, scented soaps for the fair, said she liked “the whole process” of making the soaps, which she thought would be a nice gift option.

Higgs marketed her pillows as a something that can be thrown around without breaking anything, while also a soft place to rest your chin.

Abby Howard made Christmas ornaments, while Kaylee Scheklesky made key chains.

“It took a little while to make each one, but I had fun,” Scheklesky said. “I’ve done better (financially) than last year, as well.”

Emily Wubs’ body lotions, made with essential oils, were also well-received – she sold out of all of her small and medium products within an hour.

“It’s really good because you can wear it to school,” Wubs explained, of the benefit of using essential-oils.

She described the experience as a whole as “so fun.”

“It teaches you… to get a feel of what business is like,” Wubs said. “I really like making the product. And I love selling it.”

St. Cyr noted the “quite labour-intensive” project is one every student takes to heart – and can succeed in.

“Every single person is so engaged and everyone feels like they’ve accomplished something,” she said. “They take it very, very seriously.”

Ten per cent of profits from the fair – along with proceeds from donations collected for apple cider and cookies – are to be donated through We Day and Free the Children to buy goats to help women in Africa.

Emily Wubs & Jenna Linford