MTHS Students Share Business and Entrepreneurship Techniques with Cedar Hill Fifth Grade Students
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MTHS FBLA students taught Cedar Hill 5th grade students about business through Junior Achievement's "High School Heros Program." Back row: Shyam Mehta, Michael Sakellakis, Rishi Meswani, James Gomez-Solis, Brian More, Avereen Chahal. Front row: Daniel Kastin, Jenny Sun, Brady Garb
Future Business Leaders of America and Junior Achievement Unite to Empower Youth Through the “High School Heroes Program”
NOTE: This article was written in large part by Montville Township High School junior, Jenny Sun. Sun is an officer in the MTHS FBLA and she was a volunteer that High School Heroes Program event at Cedar Hill Elementary School.
“Business” and “Entrepreneurship” are two words that elementary school students used to furrow their eyebrows upon hearing. But not anymore. Junior Achievement recently collaborated with Montville Township High School’s Future Business Leaders of America, or FBLA, club in a High School Heroes Program.
The High School Heroes program is a service learning project that provides high school students the opportunity to become role models by teaching and empowering elementary students within their school district. The High School Heroes Program is coordinated through the non-profit organization of Junior Achievement of New Jersey. JA’s motto is “Empowering young people to own their economic success.”
On April 9, 2019, Montville Township High School students and FBLA members Rishi Meswani (grade 12), Brian More (12), James Gomez-Solis (11), Daniel Kastin (11), Michael Sakellakis (11), Avereen Chahal (11), Jenny Sun (11), Shyam Mehta (11), and Brady Garb (10) took a field trip to a local elementary school, Cedar Hill Elementary in Towaco, New Jersey, to teach fifth grade classes about business, including work readiness, financial, literacy, and entrepreneurship.
The day started off like any other. The high school students were fully prepared — previously they had spent an entire day reviewing the teaching plans and practicing their lessons. The team of nine, which included one sophomore, six juniors and two seniors, were dressed in business casual attire. They then left MTHS for the entire day to carry out this program.
When the FBLA high school mentors entered the classrooms, both the mentors and students were a little nervous.
Though the age difference and business casual attire may have scared the elementary students at first, the younger students quickly became comfortable, frequently asking questions and participating in the activities.
“I was pleasantly surprised by how respectful and attentive the elementary school students were,” FBLA officer Jenny Sun recalled. “The lessons were very engaging because of their inquisitive nature and ability to learn quickly.”
The lessons revolved around teaching key terms, asking questions, and applying skills through various hands on activities such as designing a product or setting up a marketplace. Elementary school students were asked to think like an entrepreneur and analyze various issues and solutions faced in the business world.
Though the lessons took the entire school day, time flew by fast. At the end of the day, the high school mentors passed out certificates and gave their reluctant goodbyes.
This event marked the first time that Montville Township Public Schools participated in the High School Heroes Program. Nine high school students served as mentors to three fifth grade classes. A total of fifty-eight fifth grade students participated.
“I like how the volunteers are teaching us about owning a business,” said fifth grade student Lena Tusche. “When I get older and want to start my own business, I can know how to price things.”
The FBLA students looked back at the day with satisfaction. “It was a great experience in public speaking and leadership. I definitely improved in my communication skills,” Rishi Meswani, MTHS FBLA President and MTHS senior, reflected.
Aside from improving the high school students’ skills, the program also provided the elementary school students exposure to a vast world of possibilities.
Fifth grade student Christian Spiewak noted, “In the ‘Innovation’ activity we learned about problem solving to make things easier for us.”
“The best part of the day was the problem solving and teamwork,” agreed fifth grade teacher Janice Koch. “Cooperative learning was a great experience.”
Fifth Grade teachers, Lisa Accardi, Janice Koch and Carlyn Monastero each noted that the problem solving aspect of the day’s activities made the program extremely valuable.
Avereen Chahal, a junior, stated that the experience helped her “share knowledge to young business minds.”
The High School Heroes Program at Cedar hill Elementary School was coordinated with Junior Achievement and FBLA by MTHS Assistant Principal David Gelber, MTHS FBLA Advisor Rebecca Sheehan and Fifth Grade Cedar Hill teacher Lisa Accardi.
“On behalf of Junior Achievement of New Jersey, we would like to thank you for donating your time and energy at the Montville Township High School Heroes JA Day at Cedar Hill Elementary School on April 9, 2019,” wrote Junior Achievement Program Associate Viviana Ortega in an e-mail to the coordinators.
Ortega went on to describe the April 9 event as “impactful,” and added, “We are so grateful for our partnerships and look forward to many more fun and successful events!”
Montville Township High School and Cedar Hill Elementary School are two of seven schools in the Montville Township Public Schools district. The Pre K to grade 12 district is comprised of five elementary schools, a middle school and a high school. The schools are located in Montville Township, NJ, which includes Montville, Pine Brook and Towaco.
The nine FBLA members noted that business skills are a necessity for a vast amount of careers, and emphasized that it is imperative that children start learning them as soon as possible.
Ms. Koch's Class
Olivier Phanord, Giuliana Panico, Hailey Dragone, Olivia Renner, Arianna Uccello, Jordan Schnall, Jayna Lopez, Megan Haley, Maral Boudoughian, Nick Brynczka, Hunter Neretich, Ethan Zapisek, Evan VanderWekke, Gabe Aboyoun, Dante Palladino, Chase Garb, Caleb Gill, Aidan Stepien, Mekhi Cohen, Brian More, Avereen Chahal, Jenny Sun.
Ms. Accardi's Class
Bottom row - Stephanie Brig, Samantha Dorenbush, Leela Asfor, Nolan Shenkman, Kayla Capobianco, Sofia Velez. Back row - Michael Sakellakis, Ryan Conlon, Claudio Matute-Fuentes, Frank Mandorlo, Dalton Brooks, Gabriella Suarez-Escobar, Angela Vasilic, Felicity Rachwal, Vivian Soeiro, Avery Arcaro, Ruby Brodsky, Kelly, Rishi Meswani, Brian More, Daniel Kastin
Ms. Monastero's class
Top Row: Luhara Soeiro, James Gomez-Solis, Shyam Mehta, Devin Martin, Brady Garb, Oliver Repic, Olivia Zhang, Lena Tusche, Esha Jain, Maana Parikh, Samantha Brig; Middle Row: Rihana Merko, Raaheen Mirza, Sahana Natesan, Michael Bartman, Matthew Megaro, Dante Domino, Daniel Iasso, Zayd Medhat, Briana Merkaj, Eden Brodsky; Cole Riley is front and center on table