Students run company to learn ins, outs of business NORTHWEST -- Taneytown * Union Bridge * New Windsor * Uniontown

NEIGHBORS

June 24, 1993|By MICHELLE HOFFMAN

It was an experiment in economics and teamwork that generated some financial scares, but finally turned a profit.

Students from the fifth through eighth grades at New Windsor Middle School formed a crafts business last fall called Tiger Products Inc. and sold stock in the company. The shares were sold for $1 each, with a five-share limit per stockholder. Some 42 shares were sold to 16 stockholders. The money was used to buy craft materials.

The students knew the risks involved in playing the stock market before they purchased the stock, said Linda Selby, a seventh-grade reading teacher who led the Tiger Products venture. She explained to the Economics Club students how the stock market works.

"We talked about playing the stock market and what happens," Mrs. Selby said. "Sometimes you invest money in the stock market and you can lose it all. Other times you put money in the stock market and you do very well. They understand that."

She said if the company broke even or lost money, the stockholders knew they would not get their money back. But the student response proved that the stockholders were willing to take that chance.

The crafts time was held during the last class of the day, an activities period. Students chose the activity class they found interesting, and had to stay in that class for the entire session, one-third of the year. Mrs. Selby's section was overbooked at 25 students, and she had to turn others away. Tiger Products Inc. was a hit. Some students have stayed with it all year.

Imagination and talent produced some impressive items to sell. Amanda Frye used flowers and lace to decorate straw hats. Jessica Hoff formed wire-and-lace hearts. Melanie Nelson decorated jointed bears with beads, flowers and lace.

For Stephanie Schmitt, the intricacies of making tiny earrings, barrettes and other pieces of jewelry were an exact science. "You have to have a steady hand," she said. "You have to put the piece in exactly the right spot or it won't look good at all."

She has made bell earrings with bows for Memorial Day, flower earrings, bat earrings for Halloween, and the most popular, squiggle-eye earrings, a current fad at the school.

Josh Naill made bead necklaces and bracelets. He also hoped to start a fad with friendship pins, beaded safety pins to put on zTC sneakers or clothing. Many children trade them as a gift to a friend.

Other popular Tiger Products items included earrings with ghosts, spiders, bats or spiders on yellow moons, decorated jointed rabbits, jointed or stuffed bunny pins, decorated baskets, and potpourri-filled, lace-rimmed straw hats.

After every holiday sale, the entrepreneurs figured the stock returns by the total sales of company merchandise. Some sales produced up to $1 per share in returns.

However, in preparation for the company's May Day sale on May 15, the business was about $100 in the red. Optimism ran high as the craft work continued at a faster pace so more products could be sold to produce a higher volume.

Mrs. Selby and the Tiger Products board members had hoped to sell everything But sales fell short and the students went home flooded with unsold items.

The merchandise sales were to continue through the end of school today. As of June 18, Tiger Products' stock was paying $2.23 per share, a profit of $1.23 on initial investments.

So the teamwork paid off for these budding business people.

Since there still are items to be sold, Mrs. Selby is giving the shareholders the option of cashing in their shares now, or waiting until next year and possibly receiving more money when the items are sold.

*

"Devoured any good books lately?"

The monster at the end of the hallway at New Windsor Middle School asked eighth-grade students this question daily.

And the students answered with a hearty, "Yes!"

Throughout the year, the class read 1,135 books and the students were required to give a presentation about each book and why they liked it.

These were no ordinary book reports. Some students dressed up as characters in the books and made their presentations from the character's point of view. Some students made brochures to sell their books. Others wrote personal reflections about why they liked the books and tried to convince others to read them, too.

Media specialist Pat Zepp spoke to the children monthly about different genres.

The students wrote the titles and authors on 2-inch-wide strips of paper and lined them up on the walls of the third-floor hallway. The book trail follows a hallway and a half.

"They have succeeded beyond what they thought they could accomplish," said Mrs. Toni Lehman, an eighth-grade reading teacher.

*

How time flies during carnival season. Last week was Taneytown's annual volunteer firefighter's carnival.

This week, the spotlight is on Harney's carnival.

Homemade crab cake sandwiches, and hot and lean pit beef sandwiches headline dinner quick picks. Pizza, chicken, Texas hot dogs and french fries also will be available.

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