It’s not uncommon for high school students to get a part-time job.
They may work at the mall or a fast-food restaurant or Publix, but not every teen finds themselves in the workforce.
Angeline Academy of Innovation, the first-year magnet school in Land O’ Lakes, is looking to change that.
In December, the school opened Bullseye Corner Store, which will be run by students, many of them taking business and other like-minded classes. They’ll be unpaid “employees,” but still do everything an employee might do at, say, Gap or American Eagle, all from sales, customer service, managerial skills, marketing, advertising, social media promotion, ordering, quality control, stocking and even housekeeping.
“We’re going to operate this like a real-world store,” Angeline business instructor and teacher Chad Mallo said. “So it’s similar to the real-world experience, not a cookie-cutter class or experience, that way they know what to do whether here or at their first real job or next job.”
Mallo thought having a student fully run store would be beneficial to them, especially beyond what he can teach or talk about in a classroom. Which is why whoever is hired at Bullseye will be required to apply with a resume and have a sit-down interview.
“I want them to go through the whole real-world process,” Mallo added. “It won’t just be sales. They’re going to have job titles and responsibilities like they would at any other store or business and they’ll all have to do their jobs.”
Bullseye Corner Store will actually have two sides to it.
One side of the store will feature items like pens, stickers, toys, candy and other school supplies that students can obtain once they have enough Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) points to cash in. These items will be donated by parents.
On the other side of the store, it will actually sell, for money, school-branded gear with the school logo and mascot, The Archers. These will range from shirts, sweatshirts, hats and more, however, as part of their jobs, the students will market and research the store and see what items are their best sellers or in demand.
The monies made from these sales will go back into the school, usually to help fund field trips or other projects.
“All that stuff, we’re learning in class,” freshman shop worker Davina Horowitz said. “We’re learning how to fill out applications, resumes, interview techniques — all of which were used to work at the school store, but also for more jobs. … We’re given the opportunity to run (the store), to have the responsibility to run it because usually admin or staff volunteers run a school store.
“I think that makes it more of a school store because having students run it, that really not only gives us the experience, but really makes a school store — and it’ll be great that students are running it.”
“We have to go through the roles and learn the responsibilities,” sophomore co-worker Michael Colon added. “We will learn what a manager really does and what they go through. It’ll be interesting because we’ll be learning about it on the job, both at the store and in class.
“We’re a school store, but run by the students — that’s what makes us different from other school stores.”
Mallo’s classes also collaborated with the school’s Career Technical & Agricultural Education team — Michael Marchesano, Nichole Matthews, Loc Hoang and Lisa Witfoth — to include those students as part of running the store. The students combined to pick the name of the store and work out all the details.
They also approved store designs and builds that came from Mark Fox, director of maintenance services, and Jimmy Witfoth, senior crew chief, who would eventually install the cabinets. They also approved the neon sign, which was built and installed by Kelvin Valle of Transonic Laser Engraving.
And the store is already seeing anxious customers.
“Hey, if you build (it), they will come (laughs),” Mallo added.
But the real excitement is coming from, believe it or not, the student employees, who are ready to get their hands on the real-life experience. They’re ready to sell and even deal with customers.
“This is going to give us a lot of experience for other jobs,” Horowitz said. “We may not get paid, but it will pay off.”
“I’m excited to get it up and running,” Colon said. “No, I’m not getting paid, but the experience is great, which I think we’re all looking forward to, especially finally having customers.”
“We’re covering everything,” Mallo said. “I tell the students to have a smiling face, even if customers are rude, but don’t be confrontational. If there is a ‘situation,’ try to de-escalate it, just like you would teach an employee in the real world.
“And to keep a smile, and if all else fails, come get Mr. Mallo (laughs).”
Published January 03, 2024