The students in Deborah Arnold's banking and finance and accounting classes at Butler High School are getting a taste of what it's like to be entrepreneurs.
Since fall, the students have been running a cookie business out of their classroom. They take on tasks that include product inventory, marketing, financial reports and, of course, baking.
Profit from the business go to the school's Future Business Leaders of America club, of which many of the students are members.
"We try to give the students hands-on activities so they become more involved in the learning process," Ms. Arnold said. "When I asked the students if they would be up to setting up a cookie business, they were really excited."
Three days a week, they sell cookies to students and teachers at the high school. Once a week, they meet to discuss the operation of the business.
Being in charge of a business is a learning experience in itself, said Malika Sessions, 16.
"It's better than doing just book work," she said. "Whether you want to learn how to work in a business or own one, you can get the experience here."
Shanice McKinney, 19, wants to have her own clothing business and promote her own clothing line. She is getting a start by coming up with marketing strategies for the school's cookie business.
"We don't want to use false advertising, so we make sure our fliers are very specific about what we do, how we do it and where the money goes," she said. "We come up with sayings and colors that will get people to look at our fliers."
The marketing strategies have attracted many customers to the business, said Evonna Howard, 17.
"Every day, even days we're not selling cookies, they come and want to buy cookies. I think that shows that we are promoting it well and that the business is doing well," she said.
Although each of the students has specific duties, the business has taught what teamwork means.
"What I find special is that the students are working together and they care about each other as a team," Ms. Arnold said. "They talk very maturely about the business and realize that it takes all of them working together to make this business work."