Neb. - The first T-shirts havent even been designed or printed
but already teachers and administration are excited about the
potential of the silk screening business at Winnebago High School.
of continuously buying T-shirts for athletics and extra-curricular
activities, the school decided to make its own clothing instead.
A $15,000 grant offered by the Education Service Unit #1 of Nebraska
was used to purchase a screening machine and dryer and this equipment,
in addition to saving the school money, will permit the students
to learn skills associated with operating a retail operation once
the staff at the high school this year is Mary Anne Hovland from
the economics and accounting department. One of four teachers involved
in developing the program, this entrepreneurship opportunity was
the selling point for her choosing Winnebago.
starting a business from the ground up without a kit in a
box," Hovland said, adding the possibilities are "endless."
machine itself is quite simple to operate and has four screens that
permit multi-colored patterns to be imprinted onto shirts, bags
or other flat objects. Ultimately the students will incorporate
their own ideas and ready-made pictures from ClipArt, a software
package, in drawing the designs.
the need to have financially-acute students, there will also be
an emphasis on utilizing the schools talented artists and
clothing designers. By drawing upon numerous departments, students
will learn about teamwork and functioning within different departments.
staff member who will assist in overseeing the Winnebago Entrepreneurship
Program is Jean Knapp, who has taught at the school for eight years
in the family and consumer science department. For her students
with the gift of putting pen to paper, their ideas might be seen
as more than theoretical.
have in-class instruction and then theyll go apply what they
learn," Knapp said. "The kids have the opportunity to
simulate a real business and instead of reading about accounting,
they can do the procedures."
this operation will be starting from scratch, Hovland, Knapp, Dale
Mette, an art instructor; and Joani Hegge from the alternative education
program will handpick the first dozen or so kids to initiate the
program. These students will have the laborious task of research
and development, the often unheralded groundwork which frequently
determines success or failure (although any struggles will also
be viewed as a learning tool) of a business.
is the stuff every single company deals with when they open up their
doors for a new business or idea," said Knapp.
starting production, Hovland stated another $8,000 is required to
equip the designated workroom with a sink and to purchase a computer
with appropriate software. She estimates another two years will
pass before the silk screening business generates net profits but
whatever losses do occur, they will be less than if the school just
continued to buy printed shirts anyway.
being manufacturers and wholesalers, the business will be able to
pass on the savings to its customers. Also, without any overhead
or salaries, this for-profit entity can afford to charge less for
we feel confident we can take it out of the school, thats
our goal is to start marketing by the spring," said Hovland
mentioning it will be the students, not the staff, who will be running
the operation. The teachers role will be to coach these "employees"
but not to do their work.
and Knapp shared a laugh when it was envisioned about how the students
will be "burning the midnight oil" trying to complete
a rush order. Emphatically they pointed out this will be an activity
thats comparable to any other after-school program in its
time commitments. Besides, through their research it will be known
how quickly and how large an order can be filled.
the viable markets, one is other schools. After quality measures
are taken for Winnebagos own teams, there are varsity programs
in the area that could benefit by ordering from another school and
the teachers believe this is realistic.
term possibilities include moving into an outlet in the soon-to-be
constructed Ho-Chunk Village thats across the road. Because
this commercial development is located on Winnebagos main
street, Highway 77 that leads to Omaha and Lincoln, the location
offers more visibility of the students talents that otherwise
might not be seen by the public in the school itself.
its hoped this business will create summer jobs for the students
in the retailing, designing and financial components.
only will it be recouped in the dollars and cents but I think the
kids who participate will get valuable information that will be
lifelong skills," Hovland said.