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High schoolers in Clay Center learn how to run a small business, win scholarship

Published: Apr. 21, 2021 at 10:44 PM CDT
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CLAY CENTER, Kan. (WIBW) - High schoolers in Clay Center are learning how to run a small business after finishing their Business Essentials class last fall.

The students in Clay Center teacher, Rhonda Gierhan’s Business Essentials Class wanted to put their lessons to a real-world test.

“We decided the best way to learn how to run a business was to actually have our own business.” Clay Center Community High School student, Kinzlee Wallace says.

Gierhan suggested they start a business making spirit wear for the school. They reached out to a local t-shirt printing company for advice.

“We also got help from local small business, Gate 9, they guided us towards Stahls’ and the scholarship and the heat press and stuff like that.” Clay Center Community High School student, Ty Langvardt says.

The students applied for a scholarship from the Stahl Family Small Business Fund to Support Entrepreneurs.

Stahls started its custom garment decoration and equipment company more than 90 years ago.

The Stahl family awarded the students the “Pure Imagination Scholarship.” It came with a heat press, start-up materials, and a marketing kit, along with one year of personalized coaching from experts at Stahls.

“They helped us learn. They’re giving us coaching sessions along the way and we’ve just learned so much.” Clay Center Community High School teacher, Rhonda Gierhan says.

“I think the Stahls scholarship has really helped us kind of expand our whole business in general and, like, it’s given us the opportunity to make more designs with different colors.” Clay Center Community High School student Clara Edwards says.

The students are learning every step of the process from creating the shirt designs and using the heat press, to creating short video commercials and a website.

“Updating the different products that we have for the store and all of that…and then I change things on the website about what we are doing and all of that and it also goes along with our Facebook page.” Clay Center Community High School student Ella Rice says.

Turning their classroom skills into real-world success is the best lesson of all.

“I’ve learned that making videos for the community, it just...it is...it has a...it can have a really good impact.” Clay Center Community High School student Caylyn Pfizenmaier says.

Getting spirit wear from the ‘Roar Store’ is still a manual process, you can find the ordering information here.

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