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Hot Dog! Students Learn About Business Through JA Program!

Updated: Jul 5, 2019

Learning to run their own hot dog stands, Bonner Elementary fourth-graders participated in the Our Region Junior Achievement program led Tuesday and Wednesday by volunteer Patrick Broos, market director of supply chain at CHI St. Luke’s Health. Junior Achievement is a nonprofit youth development organization dedicated to providing activity-based learning programs for kindergarten through high school classrooms.

“It’s so fun,” Garrett Thornton said as he played a board game that took him through everything a business owner would go through when starting a business. “We have to buy supplies and advertising, which are our expenses, and then how much we sell our hot dogs for and tips are our revenue. It’s a game but about real life. I didn’t think this would be so much fun.”

Thorton’s partner, Cooper Odenbach, pointed at the number on his rolled dice and figured out the tips he received.

“I want to play this every day,” Odenbach said. “We have this page that represents a hot dog stand, and we roll the dice to tell us what happens — if we lose money, if we get money. At the end we subtract our expenses from our revenue and see what we made or lost on our sheet.” He said he would like to run a business someday, but not a hot dog stand because “I’m pretty sure I would eat all the hot dogs.”

This program teaches students how to open a business and what business owners face, such as deciding what type of business they want, naming a business, budgeting, manufacturing as a whole, and natural, human and capital resources. Students learned the traits of a “successful entrepreneur”: determination, creativity, self-confidence, ambition and experience. Each student evaluated themselves on these traits and learned what they need to work on.

Robyn Cullen, fourth-grade GT teacher, keeps the game and information so the kids can continue to play throughout the year and reinforce the skills learned.

“It connects a lot of the real work experiences to vocabulary and financial literacy in math,” Cullen said. “So when we talk about banking, depositing money, withdrawing money, bills, salaries, income and outcome, this is exactly connected to these standard and real-life lessons.”

She said it’s aligned with certain Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills standards for social studies, math, critical thinking and especially financial literacy, a new state standard.

“This is definitely a resource that we can build on,” Cullen said. “We are trying to collect as many resources in financial literacy because it is somewhat new.”

Principal Scott Mackey said JA programs have been very beneficial to students.

“We covered over 200 kids for third grade last year through the program Our City, but we said we could bring this to more kids this year,” he said. “So we and Michelle (Green, JA executive director) got a lot of our parents and volunteers to cover the entire campus and teach 650 kids these programs.” In February, volunteers will present the Our City program to third-graders and Our Nation to fifth-graders.

“Volunteers will share their personal experiences and community leadership skills with the students, and will provide a unique day of learning,” Green said.

Broos was “such a good fit to help out today because his job includes supply chain as a market director of supply chain,” Green said.

This was Broos’ first time volunteering for JA.

“I wasn’t sure what to expect, but it has been such a joy that I told Michelle that I am a lifer for Junior Achievement,” he said. “Interacting with the kids, seeing their enthusiasm about wanting to learn about businesses, has really sparked me to continue volunteering.”

For more information on how organizations can be represented in a classroom, contact Green at 632-090 or at

Article by Stephanie Stevens / The Lufkin News. Stephanie Stevens’ email address is

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