Young Eunice entrepreneurs donate profits to injured vet
Eunice High School seniors have had the chance to couple learning the basics of running a small business with deciding what to do with their profits every year since 2001.
This year, the 36 students involved in the project netted $1,405, money they earned over the period of one week late last month.
Jackson Bickle, their economics teachers, said he gave his students several options for the use of their money. They could give what is called a “landmark” at the high school or they could use the money to contribute to an institutional cause or to an individual or a family in need.
“They voted to give the whole amount of money to Chris Alexander. He’s a National Guard buddy of mine who was in a motorcycle accident in March and he and his family really could use some help right now,” Bickle said.
In a telephone interview Monday, Alexander said he was on his way from McAlester, Okla., where he picked up a motorcycle from a relative.
“I was between Amarillo and Dumas when a man rear-ended me,” Alexander said. “It threw me into a ditch and the motorcycle under some traffic. I don’t remember the accident at all. I just remember waking up in the hospital.”
He also remembers his surprise when someone brought the proceeds of the students’ businesses to his door.
“I lost my job as a result of the accident,” Alexander said. “And this money will really help.”
Monday, students in Bickles’ class talked about how they raised the money.
“We got into groups of two, really partnerships. And we decided what kind of business we wanted,” Harria Mendoza, 18, said. “We went into the food business. We sold burritos and other food.”
Every partnership in the class seems to have been in the food business, admitting that they were in competition with the school cafeteria, but also declaring that administration didn’t raise an objection.
Jacob Mendoza, 18, said he thought the key to selling his company’s food, for which it charged $2 plus $1 for a drink, was marketing.
“But what really worked after the first day was that we dropped the price. We gave ‘em more for their money,” he said.
Partners Damian Pershall and Robert Mitchell said their partnership earned more than any other in their class but did not know how much they earned. A classmate accused them of putting their own money into the business, an allegation that Pershall denied.
“What earned us the most was the special seasoning I put into our burritos,” Pershall said. “It’s a secret ingredient.”
Mitchell said their partnership won because of his superior salesmanship.
“I just know how to sell things,” he said.
Bickle, who in addition to teaching economics is an assistant football coach, is completing his third year in Eunice and will leave when school is out to become a teacher/coach in Artesia.
“This isn’t my original project,” Bickle said. “Xan Hobbs started it when she taught economics, and I inherited it and have done it every year.”
Hobbs, who now teaches English, said she began the project in 2001.
“It was a hands-on way to learn about partnerships, making business and financial plans, supply and demand. I think all of our business were food except for one and that group painted addresses at people’s houses. We raised $1,100 and donated it to St. Jude’s,” Hobbs said. “Over the years the students have done a lot of things with their money. They’ve contributed to the American Heart Association, helped a family, provided a couple of landmarks and lots of other things.”