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Posted: January 24, 2013 10:29 p.m.

Students show off entrepreneurial skills

Students at the Newton College and Career Academy are continuing to impress with their entrepreneurial skills, presenting their newest design — a lounge and coffee shop on campus — designed and run by students.


The Lounge was developed by the students in the advanced sports and entertainment and fashion marketing classes. Not only did the students come up with the name, they came up with the general scheme, the colors, the items the store would sell, the artwork and the furniture.


Trainer Allison Chapman said it took about two weeks for the students to finish working on their ideas, which they then presented to faculty members and several other associates.


“We listened to each presentation and graded them based on what they came up with,” said Chapman. “The top grade was what we decided we were going to go with.”


The group whose idea was chosen picked out paint shades and artwork; they also did a survey of trainers and students as to what they wanted to purchase and what they wanted from the general atmosphere. The Lounge sells cappuccino, coffee, slushies, tea, juice, candy, soft drinks, muffins and Pop Tarts. They also have a small television to display their menu and a larger television centered near a sectional and tables which shows CNN and will eventually, they hope, show repeats of sports games from local teams. The students are also in charge of inventory, which is done on an iPad, which only enhances their technology knowledge.


“It’s all student-driven, which makes it fun for us,” said Chapman. “We actually took a field trip to select colors and furniture. Everyone had a hand in the decor and that is such a positive thing.”


The Lounge opened its doors Monday to students and the community. Because the NCCA is so large they host visitors on a regular basis, which allows for a place to visit while they are at the school. Not to mention the students, teachers from Newton High School next door and the associates at the NCCA.


“We’ve told the board [of education] to do a drive-by and honk the horn and we’ll serve them,” Chapman said, laughing.


The Lounge opens first thing in the morning until around 9:20 a.m., then re-opens at 11 a.m. and is open for every lunch period. Originally opened at the end of the day, they scraped the idea when it became too difficult for the students to operate it and then leave school on time.


“We want to make sure the students are accountable for everything in this place,” Chapman said. “We’ve got to teach them customer service so that we can make sure our customers come back. This way they will learn every aspect of running a business.”


“We always planned to have a school-based enterprise,” explained trainer Heather Pickard. “When we first came it was a blank slate. Everything you see here was thought up and designed by the students. It’s their project, completely created by them. It’s a place for students to escape and unwind after a busy day of classes. It makes them feel good and it’s getting them ready for college and for the business world.”

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