On Dec. 14, the gym at Polenta Elementary School became a bustling market, full of student business owners and shoppers during the school’s Entrepreneur Day.
For the last four years, students at the school have operated the Polenta Marketplace, in which fifth-graders learn how to be entrepreneurs by creating their own business plans and bringing those ideas to life.
“They’ve learned about what it means to be an entrepreneur, the character traits you need to succeed in this field, and what it means to make a profit,” said Sarah Adams, fifth grade teacher.
Students were tasked with creating either a product or a service, marketing their business to classmates and then opening shop for the marketplace.
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For their businesses, students created short commercials that ran during lunch hours in the weeks leading up to the opening of the market.
“The students have really enjoyed seeing the commercials,” said Cindy Marotta, another a fifth grade teacher. “The commercials created excitement around the market and prepared the students to sell their products.”
Students from other grade levels were invited to shop during the school day on Dec. 14.
The students made products like bracelets, Christmas ornaments and baked goods. Some of the services included basketball games, face painting and a bag-toss game called Puma Toss.
“It’s a fun learning experience, and I think everyone would like it,” said Sadiee Stone, a fifth-grader. “You get to create something, sell it to people and really learn what it means to be an entrepreneur.”
All money raised at the Polenta Marketplace will go to the West Johnston Food Pantry and the Polenta Elementary Backpack Buddies program.
“The students are so excited to make something people like and to make a profit,” Adams said. “It’s not even money they get to keep. They’re excited to do this for the community.”