By Anne Marie Amacher
The Catholic Messenger
DAVENPORT — For more than 20 years, sixth-graders at St. Paul the Apostle Catholic School have learned about the economy and participated in a hands-on project to learn real-life lessons.
Sixth-grade teacher Brooke DiIulio said this project is a favorite for students each year. The class hosts a Christmas bazaar featuring homemade items that are sold to the entire student body. In the process, sixth-graders learn about the economy and the concepts of loans, interest and profit and loss.
Each sixth-grader competes to design a slogan and logo for the bazaar and gives a persuasive speech to convince their peers. The class takes a vote and the winner’s logo and slogan appear on T-shirts that the students and their teacher wear at the bazaar.
In groups of four, the students create a business plan. Each group creates a PowerPoint presentation and booklet featuring the item they hope to create and sell. Details include supply costs, estimated cost of the item to be sold and profit estimates. The students meet with two representatives from Quad City Bank & Trust to apply for a loan. With approval, students start making their projects.
They also create posters and produce commercials to show at school to promote the bazaar and the products to be sold. DiIulio said students visit the kindergarten through fifth-grade rooms to promote their products as well.
This year’s bazaar was held Dec. 14. Students set up their desks in a big circle in the two classrooms and displayed their items and signs. Two students in each group stayed in a classroom to sell items while the other two helped younger students through the two rooms. The sixth-graders reversed roles throughout the sale. Items to choose from included tie-dye Christmas ball ornaments, sports-themed ornaments, snow globes, homemade slime, festive pouches and candy. Purchased items were placed in paper bags decorated with Christmas drawings.
Tony Kent, Trevor Bloominger and Quinn Albrecht teamed up to make and sell unicorn wands. Trevor said they created 101 wands by taking thin wood craft sticks and dipping them in hot glue with various paint colors. Each wand was unique; some had sparkles and others had gems. The thickness and twists of the glue added to the uniqueness.
After the bazaar the students will pay back their loans. “They must calculate interest on the loan too,” DiIulio noted. The class helps cover the cost of a loan if a group doesn’t make a profit. “This year every group made a profit,” she said.
Students also pay for the T-shirts. Any money left over goes toward a field trip to Springfield, Ill., and to help pay for Lenten projects. In the past, students have purchased books for children in Haiti, prepared a meal for Café on Vine and hosted a Kids Against Hunger drive with the additional funds. Each year the students typically make a profit of around $1,000 after expenses are paid.
By Anne Marie Amacher