Enactus project is teaching junior high students about business

Release Date: 1/30/2013

A select group of Enactus (formerly SIFE) members have banded together to bring the basics of business to Clarksville junior high students with a project called the SPARK Initiative.

Whitney Lewis

Whitney Lewis is the Enactus program manager for the SPARK Initiative.

Beginning Jan. 28 and lasting through Feb. 6, members of Enactus are teaching basic business concepts to all six classes of eighth-graders at Clarksville Junior High School. Their lectures will include information and basic principles from such disciplines as introduction to business, marketing, management, and accounting.

Whitney Lewis, a junior management/administration major and Enactus member from Clarksville, is serving as project manager for this initiative and is excited to bring a new experience to her hometown junior high.

"From the moment I was told that I was the project manager for SPARK Initiative, I could not wait to jump on this opportunity," Lewis said. "Since I went to Clarksville Junior High and had the same eighth-grade teacher in the same classroom, this project became special to me."

The goal of the project is to teach basic business principles and values of a free market system to the junior high students. After a week of lectures from Ozarks Enactus members, each eighth-grade class will be asked to apply their knowledge by splitting into groups and developing a plan for a product using the concepts they've been taught.

"I placed myself in a young teenager's shoes and thought about how to teach them in a way where they would learn and have fun at the same time," Lewis explained. "The goal is to teach these students business concepts in an interactive environment in which they will grasp the responsibility that business leadership entails."

Within each classroom, one winner will be chosen and invited to the U of O campus on Feb. 6 to formally present their project in Baldor Auditorium.

"I wish I had had the opportunity to learn from college students when I was junior high," Lewis said. "I could not be more grateful to the Enactus team for allowing me to do this. Our vision for this project is to inspire students to develop creativity and realize the business opportunities that the community offers."

Enactus members talk with students at Clarksville Junior High.

Enactus members (from left) Laura Duran, Stephanie Figueroa, and Tyler Erickson provide a recent lesson to eighth-graders at Clarksville Junior High School. The organization’s SPARK Initiative project is teaching basic business principles and free market system values to local junior high students.