WESTON, Wis. (WSAW) – High school students at D.C. Everest are running a metal manufacturing business.
It’s part of a new class engaging students in different roles that make a business run smoothly.
Students are learning everything from website design to finance to welding in the DCE Enterprises class. They’re even having to adapt their business as COVID-19 creates challenges this fall.
“I’ve done wood work, but never metals, so it was out of my comfort zone. But I’m really glad I took the class, it’s an awesome opportunity,” said Madison Baregi, a senior.
Student workers are juggling high school classes and running a new business. This is the first time the year-long class is offered.
“Mostly right now, what we’re specializing in is these metal projects. Someone from Florida custom-ordered this,” said Kennedy Christianson, gesturing to a carefully crafted cross.
Students are doing everything from welding to website design. Grade percentage determines what share of the profit a student gets. The rest is kept in their club account.
“Everyone in the class had to fill out W9 forms so that we could get paid,” said Maxim Bungert, another senior in the class.
“Every check that comes in, we have to fill out these forms and turn them in to the office. So it’s a legit business, we’re doing all the behind the scenes work of it as well,” Christianson said.
COVID-19 has limited the time they can spend using equipment. It’s also pushed them to fill in for different roles when classmates are in quarantine.
“The biggest lesson I’ve learned so far that everyone has a role to play, and that if one person goes, obviously, having to fill in for that is really difficult. So it’s important that everyone knows what their part is, and everyone knows how to fill in for parts,” said senior Max Bublik.
The money for equipment is from a recent referendum. Their teacher says the shop is state-of-the-art.
“The kids are beyond fortunate to have what they have, and to have access to all of this technology and equipment,” said technology education teacher Steve Kmosena, brought on to help students with this class. He’s helped students in other school districts with similar operations.
He says students have met the high bar for success with their business.
“They recognize how fortunate they are, and they take great care in making sure that they’re doing everything right, that they’re not damaging equipment, that they’re not misusing equipment,” said Baregi. “The goal is that they take away a genuine experience that is very, very similar to real-world experience.”
They’re hoping to eventually have enough students join to have several shifts working. Right now, they’re working on making handmade holiday gifts.
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