Student Businesses


Photo by Emma Brunner

Alaina Perila working on budgeting for the school store.

While many students get involved through extracurricular activities during their free time, some take it upon themselves to get real world business experience while still attending school. Starting and running a business as a student can require a lot of focus and time during the school year.

Senior Alexander Cornwell operates landscaping business, ACE Lawns, and has been for six years. He mows lawns, builds patios and decks, controls weeds, mulches yards, along with a variety of odd lawn jobs. His business started as him helping out his neighbors, but it has grown and now expands across the city. Cornwell spends 54 hours a week during summer and 20 hours a week during the school year working. Through his business, Cornwell has had the opportunity to learn what the business world is like.

“Running a business you learn finances, which is a big part, another thing you learn is how to decline offers and say no to people, how to estimate how much you should charge per job,” Cornwell said. “The value of taking care of money which I think everyone should learn at a young age.”

An issue that many young business people face is not being taken seriously. Cornwell has had consults where the client has questioned his abilities because of his age.

“They said, ‘you’re a high school student so that means you don’t have much experience in this, right.’ No, people don’t always take you seriously but when you show that you are knowledgeable on the subject they will take you seriously,” Cornwell said.

Inside of school, the marketing management class operates the school store run entirely by students. Senior Sierra Adams does day-to-day tasks including filling out credit card and cash deposits, running inventory and marking pieces up or down fairly.

The students working in the store are given the freedom to choose how it is run. They all work collaboratively to make decisions.

“The school store is really about the workers and we get a lot of the responsibility to choose what goes into the store, how to advertise, how to price items and how to lead a group,” Adams said. “It’s a lot of work  but there is plenty of class time to complete it all and since it’s a very collaborative class, we can all work together and get things done effectively and efficiently.”

Being involved with the store has helped her confirm that she wants to pursue a future in business after high school.

“Getting involved in business ventures at a young age is important so that high school students can truly know what they want to do and in what section of business they would like to learn more about,” Adams said.