There is no age limit to entrepreneurship and fifth graders at Thornwood Elementary are making their ambitious dreams come true.
The students recently held their first Tragon Store of the year. They sold toys, school supplies and various small items to other Thornwood and Spring Branch Academy Institute students. The store raised $422, which will be used to purchase new merchandise and keep the store in business.
“This is a great experience for our students,” said Joanne Lim, assistant principal at Thornwood. “They are reinforcing their learning through real-world applications. They are truly motivated and have the opportunity to experience a variety of roles and responsibilities.”
The program began three years ago in partnership with FamilyPoint Resources, a Spring Branch ISD Good Neighbor that provides enriching opportunities for children and youth.
The students meet with FamilyPoint Resources volunteers every Thursday during their lunch and recess time to learn about entrepreneurship and plan for their Tragon Store, which takes place every last Friday of the month during the students’ breakfast period.
"It is important for students to have the opportunity to learn the fundamental skills in starting and operating a business, as this allows them to understand the real life application of math,” said Farah Nematpour, Arts and Education Director at FamilyPoint Resources. “We want to equip students with skills that continue to further their opportunity to succeed in their life goals."
At the Tragon Store, fifth graders are in charge of the whole operation. They purchase the items, keep up with the inventory and costs, accept payments and count the money. At the end of each store event, they evaluate and assess their performance to find areas of improvement and become more efficient.
“My favorite thing about being part of this experience is learning to be independent,” said Sayra, a participating student. “I get to experience what it is like to have a business and also learn to be responsible since I have to wake up early to set up the Tragon Store.”
Participating students are selected by their teachers and encouraged to apply to the program. The application process consists of an essay, where applicants detail why they would be a good asset to the business. The applications are reviewed and selected by FamilyPoint Resources.
The students recently visited Twisted Arrow Goods, a handmade goods store founded by Clay Harkey, an SBISD alumni. During the field trip, students heard about his journey starting his own business, the challenges he faced and how he overcame them.
Through these experiences students learn about the components of running a business to then make educated decisions when choosing a career path.
“I am grateful to our community for giving our students this amazing opportunity,” concluded Lim. “Many don’t get to say they ran a business at this young age. Our students will carry this knowledge with them throughout their education careers and beyond.”