One of the many reasons I enjoy working in the Webster Groves School District is the priority that is placed on children discovering who they are and how they might uniquely contribute to this world. Kara Siebe, who teaches Marketing II at Webster Groves High School, recently shared a story with me that beautifully exemplified this commitment.
In order to create an authentic learning experience for students, Ms. Siebe worked with the CEO of a wholesale jewelry company to create a design contest for her Marketing II students, many of whom would travel to New York as members of DECA (global organization centered on business). To help with context, this company's merchandise is found in over 23 countries and over 5000 stores.
Following the contest, the CEO stated, "Setting up a design contest seemed like the best way to get them a taste of what it’s like to truly run a business, because it required them to do market research, trend forecasting, design, and marketing—as well as to understand product viability and cost constraints. The project was a super success and we intend to do it again next year!"
In teams, students had to evaluate the company's product line of rings to determine what style was missing from its current collection. They then head to develop 6 pieces of jewelry around a specific theme. Each team's concept would then be critiqued by the company's president who directly heads the merchandising and design teams. Using his feedback, teams would have to redesign as necessary and ultimately produce a 3D prototype of one select piece. The president would then judge the prototypes to determine which team won and would possibly produce the winning piece if worthy.
Over the length of the project, the president provided students with some pretty critical feedback which allowed them to experience and feel what input can often look like in competitive business. Ms. Siebe stated, "(they)learned how to handle criticism without falling apart or taking it personally." Definitely different than marks or grades on a paper!
When they arrived in New York and came face to face with the president with whom they'd been interacting, he introduced a manufactured replica of the "winning ring" and provided the winning team with a cash prize. In addition, he announced that the ring in front of them would be sold in stores across the country!
According to Ms. Siebe, soon after the annoucement of the cash prize, the boys in the group (below) gave their earnings to Nicole (middle below). Because of her dedication and commitment to the project, they felt she was most deserving of the money. Our students are such good people!!
Due to her commitment to the project, quality of the work, and interest in graphic design, Nicole was offered an internship in graphic design with this company and will be heading to New York soon after graduation. Way to go, Nicole!!!
"Thank you" to all who contributed to making this an amazing, and possibly life-changing experience, for all!
Each child, Each day...John