UGL Students Win Entrepreneur Contest
By Patricia Keller
Patricia Keller photo
The Upper Greenwood Lake Elementary School in Hewitt, announced that its Student Entrepreneurs Program: The "UGL TREP$ Club", has won the TREP$ Company-sponsored Bulletin Board Contest.
According to the Club's advisors Melissa Bergh and Kelly Comerford, "The TREP$ company presented the task of creating a bulletin board that celebrates entrepreneurship. The only catch was you were not allowed to mention the word TREP$ on your display."
The contest was open to all elementary and middle schools.
"They decided to create a bulletin board that celebrated actual children entrepreneurs," Bergh and Comerford said in a press release,"They were hoping that the bulletin board would inspire their students and show them that they can achieve big goals at a young age."
About the TREP$ Program
The idea behind the "TREP$" Student Entrepreneurs Program began in 2005 when local mom, Hayley Romano, sought to teach her young son about the value of money - by challenging him to earn his own money to buy the new "Legos" set he wanted.
Then nine-years-old, Jack Romano accepted his mother's challenge and booked a space at a local vendors’ market, where he planned to launch his business idea: selling hand-stamped wrapping paper.
As the lad prepared for the vendor sale, he soon realized that he could use some help with production, and recruited his friend and fellow 4th-grader Hans deWaal as his business partner.
The two boys sold out of their product quickly, and each earned a profit of about $35.
According to the TREP$ website, "Hayley Romano and Pamela deWaal were proud of their boys’ financial success, but they noticed a whole host of other unexpected, valuable opportunities Jack and Hans had experienced through their brief stint as small business owners. The chance to learn basic business concepts. The chance to innovate. The chance to make decisions. The chance to work hard. The chance to see something through from start to finish. The chance to take a chance."
Hayley, a Certified K-8 Teacher with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in International Relations from Bucknell University, a Teaching Certification from William Paterson University, and experience as an elementary school language arts teacher for 12 years; and Pamela, a certified mathematics teacher with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business from Montclair State University, and Elementary and mathematics teaching certificates from William Paterson University; joined forces to create a program curriculum for their children’s school that offered other students those same opportunities.
With the support of their school's PTA, the TREP$ Program was piloted in 2006 as an after-school club at the West Milford Township Public School District's Paradise Knoll Elementary School in Oak Ridge.
The TREP$ Program soon gained prominence after being named winner of the New Jersey PTA’s "Champion for Children Award" and a top five finalist of the National PTA’s "Phoebe Apperson Hearst Award".
Other schools soon began to express interest in offering the TREP$ Program, so the two teacher-moms seized the market opportunity to become entrepreneurs themselves.
Romano and deWaal established TREPS ED, LLC in 2007 and began marketing their TREP$ Program Curriculum.
Romano said that her favorite thing about TREP$ is that, "It reaches kids who may not be that excited about school."
According to the TREP$ website,
"TREP$, short for enTREPreneur$, is a project-based learning program that teaches kids in grades 4-8 how to start their own businesses.
They learn the lessons in classroom or afterschool workshops, and apply them at home as they build their businesses with the support of their families. The whole school community comes out to enjoy the TREP$ Marketplace, held right at the school, where the young entrepreneurs launch their businesses together. TREP$ can be offered as part of the curriculum or as an extra-curricular enrichment program. It can be taught by teachers or by volunteers in the school community."
According to TREP$, since its inception, the TREP$ Student Entrepreneurs Program has helped create 31,668 student entrepreneurs at 142 different schools, with over 633 TREP$ Marketplace Events held.
UGL's contest-winning TREP$ Bulletin Board
The UGL TREP$ Club's clever, winning bulletin board is titled, "A Minion Reasons to Love Kid Entrepreneurs". Photos of child entrepreneurs, along with descriptions of their companies, are featured in the "cloud bubbles" around the title quoted on the bulletin board.
As winners of the contest, the UGL TREP$ Club won $250 in TREP$ "swag"; which included a large TREP$ banner and calculators for their students to use at their own Marketplace Event, and two TREP$ t-shirts for them to raffle off.