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Forest Lake raises charity funds through food

Economics put into practice through project, teacher says
By: Bridget Jones, Journal Staff Writer
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LAKE OF THE PINES – Teens at an Auburn school are helping those in need by feeding their peers tasty treats. On Thursday Forest Lake Christian School high school seniors participated in their school’s annual “Apprentice” project. The project is part of teacher Travis Smith’s economics class. In the project, students are divided into groups and have one month to create a food business. On Thursday 56 students sold their products to their fellow junior high and high school peers. Students could find everything from pizza, spaghetti and Mexican food to waffles, cotton candy and corn dogs in the school’s gym. Each food business had its own decorated booth and name with students taking orders and dishing out plates. Other students walked around the crowded, colorful gym selling their items to those who hadn’t settled on what booths to visit. All proceeds from the sale go toward local charities including Christian Encounter Ministries in Grass Valley, which has a live-in program for at-risk teens and young adults. Smith said he is also looking into donating part of the funds to an organization providing relief in Japan. “There are a couple local churches that are connected with ministries that I’m looking at because they actually have teams going over (to Japan),” Smith said. “That is one of the things we really stress here. In all of our classes so much of our philosophy and our world view, so much is about giving back.” The project typically raises between $3,500 and $4,000 for charities, but has raised as much as $8,000, Smith said. Smith said the T.V. show “The Apprentice” inspired him to start the project in 2004, and since then it has become an annual tradition. “I was watching (“The Apprentice”) and I thought, ‘I could do something like this for class,’” Smith said. “The goal is they are put in groups in their individual classes and they must have a food item to sell. The principles that they are learning in economics, they simply have to apply those. They get real experience of what it’s like to work with other people, the stress of putting this together.” Smith said students have to use marketing skills, people skills and successfully pull all the necessary ingredients together. The seniors do this by using tapping into their friends’ and parents’ networks as well as asking for donations from local restaurants. Kelly Claunch, 17, and her group mates created an Italian eatery called Buca di NomNom. Claunch said she has learned more than she expected from the project. “One thing I have learned is that when you are trying to run a business, you really need to work together,” Claunch said. “There are so many more aspects to something like this than you realize. I think it’s really cool. This is something we do every year and everyone looks forward to it.” Amanda Timmerman, 17, a fellow Buca di NomNom student said the project has taught her teamwork and how to manage a budget. Timmerman said she is proud to raise money for charity. “I’m glad that we can help out,” Timmerman said. “I know it’s not going to seem like a lot of money … but you do what you can and I think it’s great.” Student Body President Madeline Zea, 18, and her group, created a company called Carousel. The business booth was designed to look like a carousel and sat on top of the school’s stage from its homecoming formal dance. Carousel sold cookies on a stick, corndogs, cotton candy and popcorn. “It definitely teaches you how to run a business and handle money,” Zea said. “I think there are a lot of good life skills we will use after high school. It also teaches you time management.” Zea said she was grateful for the chance to give back to the community and for the parents who helped on the project. Andrew Baker, 18, and his peers created the company Waffles of Wisdom, which sold waffles and cinnamon rolls. Baker said he was happy to work on something that was raising money for charity and that brought all the seniors together. “It’s a great way to bond as a class,” Baker said. Reach Bridget Jones at bridgetj@goldcountrymedia.com