Leechburg Area School District teachers are still finding new ways to alter their curricula a full year into the covid-19 pandemic, adjusting lessons so students miss out on as little as possible.
When Leechburg Area High School art teacher Shayle Prorok wrote a new course curriculum for art marketing, the original idea was to have students practice marketing strategies for products for an actual store.
But with covid-19 restrictions and the added health concerns, Prorok and her students decided to take another route and create their own business.
Students in the new Art Marketing, Design and Technology class have started their own candle business, dubbed “Creation Candles.” They’re in control of the entire production process, from start to finish — making the candles, labeling them, marketing them and placing them for sale.
“The whole point was to eventually make products to sell to make this portion of the building more self-sustaining,” Prorok said of Creation Nation, a part of the school dedicated to art and design. It housed a vinyl printer, a video production area and other advanced tools.
The candle project officially started last week when students began the production of their 100% soy, hand-poured candles. The candles will be on sale for $10 apiece after spring break.
Prorok says the goal is to make Creation Candles a permanent, self-sustaining business within the school — run entirely by students.
“I would like to see them be able to have experience not only with the design process as far as labels and advertising, but also to see how to build a business and how a business runs,” she said.
The idea for candles came from the students, Prorok said. After two or three weeks of planning, they now have the means to make the candles, design and print labels and create advertisements in the facility. They’re designing their labels for various scents, including mimosa, Japanese cherry blossom, strawberry guava and “dragon’s blood.”
“It just sprouted out of nowhere,” said Izabella Reed, 16, a student in the class. “I love it so far. I think it’s really fun. I’m starting at a young age and I think it’ll be very good use in the future.”
Arwen Rak, 18, said she hopes Creation Candles can expand beyond their class — that other clubs and classes can use them for fundraisers for years to come. Prorok said the class has discussed designing flyers and an order form for sales outside of school.
Though the project is in its infancy, students are already acutely aware of the long-term benefits of understanding each aspect of entrepreneurship.
Emma Ritchie, 17, said it wasn’t until recently that she developed an interest in owning her own business, but her participation in the course only solidified it. After graduating, she hopes to get a real estate license, and to one day open a café or similar business of her own.
Madison Hanan has similar aspirations. She said she hopes to open a shop that specializes in what she called “metaphysical” products such as candles, crystals and plants.
“I’m really interested in opening my own business, and this is like the perfect start to get there,” said Hanan, 18. “That’s literally perfect for what I want to do when I grow up.”
Teghan Simonton is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Teghan at 724-226-4680, [email protected] or via Twitter .
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