ARCANUM— If you’re looking for custom tumblers, yard signs or stickers in the Darke County area, consider reaching out to the students of Arcanum High School’s Entrepreneurship course.
The year-long course is overseen by Roger McEldowney, Arcanum High School business teacher and varsity boys basketball coach, and is split into two halves.
In its first semester, McEldowney taught the students the basics of running their own business, as well as helped students brainstorm different inventions to potentially sell in the second half of the year. Now in its second semester, the students have created a custom tumbler, yard sign and decal business called A-Town Designs.
Arcanum High School Principal Jason Stephan said the course was started to give students real world experience.
“A lot of these kids have interests in either starting their own business, or being in the business field and what better way than to give them an opportunity to have their own business while here at school,” he said. “With Mr. McEldowney’s help, these students have stepped forward to create A-Town Designs and we look forward to seeing all the success that they have not only this year but as they move forward into future years.”
McEldowney said this is the first year the course has been offered at Arcanum, but he hopes it’s not the last.
“I appreciate the administration for giving us the opportunity to start this,” McEldowney said. “I have learned a lot just from doing it one time. How I’d do it differently next year, maybe teach things a little differently the first half of the year to make everything a little easier.”
Currently, the course is made up of eleven juniors and seniors, with some of them assigned leadership roles within the company.
Senior and CEO of A-Town Designs, Taylor Gray plans to study business at Miami University next year, and said the course has provided her with great experience.
“I saw that it was new this year to take,” she said. “I definitely saw it as an opportunity. I like being in charge.”
Stephan said he’s proud of McEldowney and the class.
“It’s been awesome to see them come together as a group,” he said. “To work together to come up with an idea that can be a profitable business for them, and to watch them go through all of those necessary steps in order to be successful.”
Senior and president of A-Town Designs, Landon Haney came into the course with previous business experience. While in high school Haney started his own landscaping business called Haney’s Mowing & Landscaping.
“I think I’ve been able to teach our students different ins and outs of the business,” Haney said. “I’ve been able to grab a hold of other areas that I’m weak in as well and it helps me become a better business owner.”
So far, A-Town Designs has sold over $400 in products. McEldowney said they’ve discussed donating their profits to a charity once the the course is finished. To spread the word, the students are busy with marketing. They’ve set up display during lunch to advertise their products, and recently filmed a commercial that they plan to upload to their social media accounts.