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Students market products to state parks

Representatives from Bear Creek, Twin Lakes, Holiday Lake and Sailor’s Creek Parks met with Full Circle students Wednesday, Nov. 18. The students pitched two of their products for the parks to consider selling in the park stores.

During the 20-minute presentation, students presented the “Travel Trio” soaps package, and the environmentally friendly “Fire-starters.” Students researched, designed and created the fire starters, soaps, lotion and shampoo bars during the fall semester in their Student Market course. The student market is a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) based class designed to teach students workforce readiness skills, persistence and entrepreneurial skills. During the class, students work to research, design, market and produce the products they wish to sell. The students have determined that profits from all sells will be used to fund the cost of the class, save for class field trips and 15% will be given to local community needs and charities.

“We want our products to serve a need, be as environmentally friendly as possible, and be high quality. It’s important for students to understand the need to create multiple prototypes, and see that the real world requires persistence to get things done the right way,” class instructor Sarah Spears said.

“Our ‘Travel Trio’ includes a soap, shampoo and lotion bar. The solid bars make traveling easier because there are no liquids to spill, or bottles to break. That makes this product travel and TSA friendly.” explained Walt Spears, one of the student representatives. “Each product in the trio replaces the need for bulky bottles of shampoo, lotion and bodywash.”

The students explained that this also dramatically reduces the impact of plastics on the environment.

“We have chosen to protect our natural environment by not using plastics in our packaging or petroleum based ingredients in our products,” student Makayla Kidd said during the presentation.

During the presentation about the fire starters, student designer Benji Williams said, “Campfires are an important and special part of the camping and outdoor experience. Starting a fire can be a challenge in windy or humid conditions. I knew there had to be an easy, safe way to start a fire. Our fire-starter includes all natural, easy to find ingredients. We use soy wax, because it is not petroleum based, sawdust, a pine cone, a cotton ball and multiple wicks to help it stay lit. Our large version will burn up to 40 minutes, and the smaller versions about 20 minutes. There are no chemicals in our products, and even the packaging is made of paper. You just light it and add the wood.”

Since the presentation, all four parks have ordered both the “Travel Trio” and both size fire-starters. Students will be busy producing the products to fulfill the orders.

“We are so proud of these students. They have really risen to the occasion and did an excellent job with the pitch to the park representatives. The Student Market is a cornerstone to the way we teach at Full Circle. We want students to master information and create real world products that use what they are learning. We have had long discussion about price points and profit margins. They tell me the Student Market is their ffavorite part of the week,” Angela Whittaker, Full Circle School director, said. “We are currently working on a Full Circle Student Market Facebook page. Students are learning those skills now and will be launching that page after the holidays. They are beginning to understand the importance of editing and grammar so customers see them as professional business people, not just kids,” Spears said.

The Full Circle Student Market can be found at the Vintage Antique Shack in Farmville, or contact the school to place an order.