Tonawanda News

May 7, 2014

O'Hara seniors offer little ones a lesson in business

By Mia Summerson
The Tonawanda News

Tonawanda News — The students in Allison Zarbo’s third-grade class at Ohio Elementary School got to break from their normal routine Tuesday morning when students from Cardinal O’Hara’s Junior Achievement program came in to give them a presentation. 

The Junior Achievement program, according to social studies teacher Gary Gross, who runs the program at O’Hara, says the purpose of it is to inspire the youth of today to become the entrepreneurs of tomorrow. This is accomplished by having the students, all seniors, come up with a business idea and then follow through with it. 

“The program starts in September, we get business consultants to come in an talk with the kids, they sell stock and just run their business,” Gross explained. “They usually donate a part of the profits to charity, but this year the kids wanted to put the $500 back into Junior Achievement.”

Throughout the week the O’Hara students went to several local elementary schools to present a simplified version of what they learned that year. The presentation at Ohio School on Tuesday focused on showing the kids what goes into planning a city. 

“It helps to teach them at an early how to save and be wise with money,” said O’Hara senior Zach Morris.

The third-graders were plenty happy to have some new faces in the room. They excitedly answered questions about the city they live in and took guesses of the names of different zones assigned to areas of the city. 

The bulk of the presentation included teaching the kids about the difference between industrial, residential, agricultural, business and multi-purpose zones, as well as the difference between goods and services.

“Cardinal O’Hara is always prepared and knowledgable,” said Zarbo, noting that her classes have been part of the program for several years. “The kids gets to do some hands-on learning and the O’Hara students teach things I wouldn’t necessarily cover. Everyone enjoys it and has fun.”

After the students had a lesson on zoning and learned that a city planner is the person in charge of deciding where those zones go, the students each got to select a paper building, like a library or a house, and color it in. Then they had to go up to a big “city map” and place their building in the appropriate zones. They were also asked if their building provides a good or a service.

The student were very eager to answer questions and enjoyed learning something that they were able to apply to the area they live in. One third-grader, Jaeden Hewett, said her favorite part was building the businesses and putting them in their proper zones.

The 45-minute presentation at Ohio School ended with all the students getting to keep the buildings they made and colored in. Kydd, Morris, and their two other co-presenters, Jontay Walton and Kelsey McCarthy say they had fun and that it’s nice to be able to do something to give back to the community. 

“This creates a foundation for future business owners and young entrepreneurs,” Kydd said.

Contact reporter Mia Summerson at 693-1000, ext. 4313.