By shaking a clear plastic drink bottle filled with water, vegetable oil, glitter and food coloring, 11-year-old Brandon Beswick showcased one of the many lava lamps he and other students were selling Wednesday.
Beswick, a fifth grade student at Burlingame’s Washington Elementary School, and his young business partners tried a number of ideas before creating their stand, Wacky Water Work. There was soap in a towel which made bubbles in the shape of a snake or soap-propelled match boats. In the end, the four-ingredient colorful water room decorations won.
Their creations were one of many products sold by students of the Biz World class offered at the GATE summer school hosted this year at Spring Valley Elementary School, a four-week program with students from the Burlingame Elementary, San Bruno Park and Millbrae Elementary school districts, which form a consortium during the summer. This year, 256 third- to seventh-grade students are enrolled. Programs are funded through grants and donations, explained principal Betsy Shader.
This year’s students worked with the theme of respect as in respecting the environment, respecting the community and respecting others. Supporting local nonprofits are one way of being responsible, which students were supporting with nearly every purchase.
Money raised from snacks sold over the four-week schedule, which concludes today, support Water for Life. Water for Life was started in 2007 by a group of fourth grade students at Portola Elementary School in San Bruno. Kids designed their own label for spring water. Proceeds from the bottled water are pooled with other fundraising efforts to buy water pumps to be placed in Africa. Snack sells at the summer school program generated more than $600 for the efforts.
This year, summer school students had a chance to take Biz World to learn about ethical business practices. Besides creating their own product, students have the opportunity to donate a portion of proceeds to various organizations like Water for Life.
Beswick sold out, generating $39.25.
A sliver of shade near the blacktop was reminiscent of an outdoor bazaar. There was food and a variety of goods for sale. Students designed and often times made products sold. They had to use a portion of the proceeds to cover the cost of supplies. Those working at each business will then split the money left. Students have an opportunity to donate a portion of the proceeds as well. Many planned to give to Water for Life, Relay for Life or other, yet-to-be-decided-upon charities.
William Bentley and Dominic Masotto designed Sugar Rush with one thing in mind, kids like sugar.
"Everyone likes sugar and parents don’t let kids have it,” said 10-year-old Masotto.
Bentley spent a few days trying out milk shake recipes before deciding offering vanilla and chocolate for $3.75 was the best approach. Given the heat, the product was in demand.
The ladies at Aloha Cakes — Maddie "Suza Rox” Hayes, Dominique "Dezeray Rox” Harris and Isabella "Sam” Delgado — took a similar approach. Their homemade, Hawaiian themed treats were created specifically to fit yesterday’s aloha theme.
Eleven-year-old Will Keller was not about to wait for customers to approach his booth, Cold, Fresh, and Happy. Keller approached those in the area explaining his original drink plumaid. It wasn’t just cold drinks sold by Keller and his four male colleagues — Kevin Hou, Spencer Heikel, Andrew Chai and Ulises Gomez. The guys sold a variety of homemade treats, including an ice cream sandwich made from two homemade chocolate chip cookies, vanilla ice cream and chocolate chips.
The boys did have about $20 to $30 in expenses to pay from the profits before they knew the total. There was over $100 in sales, however, exciting the young entrepreneurs.
Things were not always about the sweets. Pet Rox offered a variety of pet rocks, accessories like cell phones and hula skirts for the pet as well as housing.
The four-person crew — Gaby Harrold, Mari Wayne, Zachary Fucini and Danielle Dennehy — started with looking for rocks. Some of the rocks were purchased. Rocks were all uniquely designed. Some looked like mummies while others were happier and donned bright colors.
They were unsure of the potential profit to be made since there were outstanding bills for supplies that needed to be repaid.
Biz World was one of the classes offered this year, a program purchased through community donations. A physical education class was offered to kids for the first time; it included health lessons like the new food pyramid.
Programs like the GATE summer school are made possible through donations. It also funds a number of speakers through the year. Donations can be made to the Millbrae School District (GATE Speaker Series), 555 Richmond Drive, Millbrae, Calif. 94030.
Heather Murtagh can be reached by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone: (650) 344-5200 ext. 105.