Kids learn entrepreneur skills at Lemonade University
By BRITTANY FHOLER
Dozens of students from Copperas Cove ISD and Killeen ISD attended the Lemonade University workshop held at the Mayborn Science Theater at Central Texas College Saturday.
The five-hour workshop provided a classroom setting and curriculum for children interested in participating in National Lemonade Day, which is the first weekend in May where children run their own lemonade stands, becoming entrepreneurs for the day.
In previous years, Lemonade University was three one-hour long workshops in Copperas Cove, Harker Heights and Fort Hood.
This year, the students from Net Impact Central Texas College designed the workshop to be in one location and on one day, according to Chastity Clemons, an adjunct professor of Business at Central Texas College.
Parents received a presentation of parent/mentor resources upstairs, while students were divided into groups based on their ages.
Each group attended classes with 10- to 15-minute lessons focusing on setting goals, decision making, positive thinking; marketing, product creation and planning; finances, time management and critical thinking; creativity, social interaction and vocabulary. Each lesson was curated for each group’s level of understanding.
In the afternoon classes, the students were split up into two age groups (six to 10 and 11 and up).
Ages six to 10 learned how to make their own lemonade, using a fresh lemon that they cut up and squeezed the juice from themselves into a cup. They also added packets of sugar and bottled water in order to create their tasty concoctions. This lesson also taught them food safety.
Ages 11 and up learned more about marketing before being taught how to break down a wood pallet to use for their own lemonade stand by Ernest Finney, professor of building trades at Central Texas College. The students then built their own lemonade stand prototypes out of popsicle sticks.
For some of the students, this was their first time attending Lemonade University, and this year will be their first year opening their own lemonade stand.
Fourth graders at Clements/Parsons Elementary Lillian Melendez (10) and Jasmin Price (9) are planning on being business partners and running their lemonade stand together. They plan on holding their lemonade stand at their school, but they are also looking around at other businesses for a second location during the weekend of Lemonade Day.
“I learned that like, obviously if life hands you lemons, you make lemonade, but also, what I've learned here is that you don't have to just make lemonade and all that stuff,” Melendez said about what she learned at Lemonade University. “You can make whatever you desire, and the thing is you get to make whatever you think you want to make…You can get some people's opinions, but if they're rude about it, don't listen. Do what makes you happy.”
Melendez said the name of their lemonade stand will be My Lemonade and it will feature lemonade but also some different flowery touches. Using Jasmin’s Cricut machine, the girls plan to make vinyl decals to customize some cups to sell in different sizes.
Also in attendance was Haylee Sawyer, the 2021 Fort Hood Area Lemonade Day Entrepreneur of the Year and former Miss Five Hills Scholarship Pageant titleholder. Sawyer, who is in seventh grade now, also won “Most Unique Lemonade” in the Lemonade Tasting Contest in 2018 for her berry-infused lemonade.
This year will mark her seventh year participating in Lemonade Day.
In 2017, Sawyer donated a portion of her proceeds from her lemonade stand to the Bluebonnet Equine Society for horses. In 2018, she donated to the Copperas Cove Animal Shelter and set aside a portion for violin training at the Greater Austin Suzuki Association’s Summer Institute. In 2019, she donated to the American Heart Association. Beginning in 2020, Sawyer started donating a portion of her proceeds to Operation Stand Down Central Texas. She raised $1,400 for the non-profit through her pirate ship themed lemonade stand in 2021.
Sawyer said she plans to go with a western theme this year, featuring a cactus fruit flavored lemonade. She said she might also do a dragon fruit lemonade.
“It's a learning experience where you can go learn how to be an entrepreneur and how to cover your expenses and how to give back to the community and also keep track of all the money that is coming and going,” Sawyer said about attending Lemonade University. “To keep participating in Lemonade Day is to keep a tradition that I love to do every year, while I can also give back to my community and save some money for college and upcoming events in my life.”
Each part of the Lemonade University was planned and run by Net Impact students, from the lessons to the lunch to the graduation ceremony at the end. Net Impact is an international non-profit organization that is in more than 435 colleges around the world.
“What they do is allow students to create projects within their community, also abroad that will change the standard of living and quality of life for people in need,” Clemons said.
In addition to being a professor and the faculty advisor for Net Impact, Clemons is also on the board of directors for Fort Hood Lemonade Day with First National Bank for the past 14 years, since it started.
“Every year, my students volunteer and volunteer, and then we came up with the idea of having Lemonade University,” Clemons said. Clemons said she turned it into a curriculum and assigned it to her internship class to put the entire event on from operations to food to curriculum and more.
The communities of Copperas Cove and Killeen fall under the Fort Hood Area Lemonade Day, which was introduced to the Fort Hood Area community in the spring of 2010 by First National Bank Texas and Fort Hood National Bank.
The purpose of the National Lemonade Day program is to introduce children to financial literacy, money management and life skills through experiential learning. Children who participate in National Lemonade Day are encouraged to save some, spend some and donate some of their money that they earn through their lemonade stands.
Lemonade Day will be May 6 and 7. For more information on Lemonade Day, visit https://lemonadeday.org/fort-hood-area.