Campus Spotlight: Mackintosh-Littleton Student Earns Own Way to DC

IMG_8887Two weeks ago, our daughter Greta and her classmates undertook a Littleton Campus rite of passage: the 5/6 field trip to Washington, DC.

Mack families approach the cost of the trip in different ways – some parents underwrite it, some kids raise funds, some families combine both approaches. My husband and I feel strongly that our kids should have some skin in the game for their education. Thus, Greta began the year with the expectation of fully funding her trip.

It was Greta’s good fortune to study economics in Alison Weems’s 4th grade class. During that unit, each student (or group of students) wrote a business plan and created a small business. Greta, an avid drawer, chose to make and sell art cards. (Per her business plan, “each card is one of a kind, so no two are the same, and they are made with really high quality art.”) Students wrote plans, created goods, and held a market with products that ranged from paperclip sculptures to home-baked dog treats. During this exercise, the students practiced speaking to peers, teachers, and parents about their products.

When Greta started 5th grade, and began to think about DC fundraising, she realized she could build on her existing skills and experience. In September, she launched “Greta’s Greeting Cards (2.0)” with a refined concept: she would digitize several of her original images and color them in by hand. After initial sales to supportive friends and family, business was well underway by October. She also realized the extent of the labor involved and recruited her younger sister to join in the effort.

Many cards later, Greta found she needed access to a broader market. Tentatively, she approached the proprietor of Little Man Ice Cream and inquired about selling cards on Little Man’s patio. He was open to the idea, so she (and some other Mack fundraisers!) set up shop at Little Man two Saturdays in December. Thanks to that activity, and a 5/6 Mack Holiday Market organized by Alison Weems, these young entrepreneurs continued to refine their skills. By year’s end, Greta was more than halfway to her goal.

When sales slowed in January and February, she supplemented her revenue by caring for neighbors’ pets. By March, she again saw the need for a broader client base. Not an avid self-promoter, Greta bravely took a fresh stack of cards to a terrific local florist (VaVaBloom). As I listened to Greta make her pitch, I reflected on her growth – in knowledge and character – during the past year, and Mackintosh’s role in it. The storeowner bought fifty cards on the spot.

In her final push during April, Greta sold enough cards (to the public, and to family, friends, and teachers!) to surpass her fundraising expectations. And so, two weeks she explored D.C. with the satisfaction that came with meeting a big goal. And it’s easy to see how Mack’s thoughtfully applied IB curriculum and supportive teachers and community helped make it happen.

~by Emily Moore, Mackintosh-Littleton mom