There are few things more valuable to students than the opportunity to apply what they’re learning in the classroom to real life experiences.
And that’s exactly what DECA students at Clear Lake High School are doing through their new and improved school store.
Before, the group operated their school store out of a space no larger than a storage closet. Today, the store, which has been dubbed The Lake Shop, looks like a professionally run store with well-organized shelves, a variety of products and professional signage to help navigate its customers.
DECA is an organization that prepares emerging leaders and entrepreneurs for careers in marketing, finance, hospitality and management in high schools and colleges all around the world, including all of Clear Creek ISD’s comprehensive high schools.
On December 8, members of Clear Lake High School’s DECA organization hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony for The Lake Shop.
Located in the new portion of the high school, which is still a work in progress, The Lake Shop is “just the tip of the iceberg” of where Clear Creek ISD’s faculty and students are headed as this $104 million campus rebuild project nears its November 2018 completion, Superintendent Dr. Greg Smith said.
“We are excited about what all this new construction has already provided and what more is to come,” Smith said. “This group of students is a force to be reckoned with.”
The Lake Shop is much more than just a place for students to shop for snacks or school supplies, it’s an opportunity for the students running the store to boost their academic and life skills through real entrepreneurial experience.
Skills like customer service, which the group takes immense pride in – that, and making sure their customers always feel welcome.
Inside The Lake Shop, which is completely student-run, is merchandise purchased for students, by students.
“We purchased things we liked and what we thought our friends and classmates would like as well,” said Zain Dholasaniya, a junior DECA member.
That means visiting Sam’s Club a couple of times a month to make sure they always have plenty of inventory for their customers, he said.
Which can sometimes be on the upwards of 200 customers, who spend about $300 just during the lunch hour. The store averages $680 daily in gross sales.
“What I’ve always liked even more about this program is how it equips students with critical 21st century workforce skills like teamwork, problem solving and creativity,” Smith said.
In fact, the students who lead and run the store are already strategizing ways to streamline production and improve the bottom line. One way they plan to do that is with the printing machine they purchased with $5,000 they received in grant money to print new school shirts for the store and for other clubs and organizations around campus.
“We’ll sell them for a much lower price,” Zain Dholasaniya said.
Also in their spare time, DECA students do amazing volunteer work for their community, Smith said.
"I'm so proud of these students," said Heather Jefferson, Clear Lake High School's DECA Sponsor. "They're doing really amazing things."