IRMO, South Carolina – PAGE Five, in partnership with the College Funding Center of SC, announced the winners of its inaugural Junior Achievers Challenge (JAC) during the Lexington-Richland School District Five Board meeting on Monday, March 9. Directed at gifted and talented learners from elementary schools in the district and coordinated by PAGE Five member, Andrea Wildemann, the JAC focused on inspiring entrepreneurship in ambitious young business-kids through hands-on business ventures. “Programs such as JAC are designed to reintroduce fun into learning,” said Wildemann, “because learning should be…FUN.” She added, “I am passionate about introducing more of these types of programs to benefit our youth and better prepare them for life beyond the classroom.”
Kylie Anderson and Sydney Landrum, both fourth grade learners from Oak Pointe Elementary School, achieved first place and a $500 prize for their K&S Cancer Bows. Twenty-five percent of their business profits and one hundred percent of their donations went to the Children’s Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders at Prisma Health Children’s Hospital-Midlands.
Second place winners, Kaelecca Naturals, manufactured all-natural sugar scrubs and lip balms. They boasted the highest return on investement (ROI) ratio of almost 6.5 converting a $38.65 investment into $387.28. Rebecca McClinton and Kael Wildemann, third grade learners at the Harbison West Escolares Academy, earned a cash prize of $300.
Sisters Monique and Melissa Jacobs, second and third grade learners from the Harbison West Escolares Academy, won third place and $200 for their heart-shaped candles. Their business, Light the Night, turned a $38 investment into $161 with an ROI of 2.9 and was the first to sell out of product.
“PAGE Five is incredibly grateful for the support of Rob Mendenall of The College Funding Center of SC, Mayor Barry Walker and the Town of Irmo, and Emile DeFelice and the Soda City Market,” said PAGE Five President Barb Waldman, “without which PAGE Five would not have been able to provide this unique enrichment opportunity for gifted learners in Lexington/Richland School District Five.” Mr. Mendenall’s generous donation covered cash prizes and program costs. Irmo Community Park allowed JAC to host a Mini-Market in the park, where students – those whose businesses offered products – displayed their wares on Saturday, January 11. Irmo Mayor Barry Walker, Sr., Councilman Kelly Bush and Councilman Erik Sickinger surprised the kidtrepreneurs with a visit. Mr. Emile DeFelice of Soda City sponsored a 10ft x 40ft space at the Soda City Market on Saturday, January 18, and many JAC businesses sold out of stock during the event.
Thirty students across seven elementary schools – seven fifth graders, ten fourth graders, nine third graders, and four second graders – participated in the challenge. Ten JAC businesses completed the challenge and the accompanying enrichment program. The other students in the challenge included third-grade learner Sharan Vuddandapu (Harbison West Escolares Academy) of Nighthawk; fifth grade learners Ellen McGee and Savannah Forrest (Harbison West Escolares Academy) of Education Cove; fourth grade learner Ellie Monts (Chapin Elementary School) of The Future is Bright; second-grade learner Stephen Jackson (Harbison West Escolares Academy) of Stephen’s Lawn Care; fourth-grade learner Seth Brower (Leaphart Elementary School) of Spellbound Wands; fifth-grade learner Daniel Helms (Irmo Elementary School) of P & D Odd Jobs; third-grade learn Whit Mangum (Ballentine Elementary School) of Whit-Gum Inc.
PAGE Five is a volunteer, non-profit support network for parents, educators, policy-makers, and residents of School District Five of Lexington and Richland counties who are interested in enhancing and advocating education for gifted and talented students in School District Five. Members of the organization promote education for gifted and talented students, disseminate information on and build awareness about gifted education, provide enrichment opportunities, and assist families with scholarships and tuition aid for gifted students.