Highland Adventist School high school students have started a business. Thanks to a generous matching grant from the Tucker Community Foundation and donations from school supporters, the school has installed a 32 foot by 20 foot high tunnel near the school.
The high tunnel is in full production and is being managed by the H.A.S. high school entrepreneurship class.
Dr. Carol Carter, associate professor and chair of D&E's department of business and entrepreneurship, and Harry Henderson, associate professor in the same department, provided expert business advice as the project was in the planning phase. Carter also supplied the school with an entrepreneurship curriculum she co-authored.
Hannah Spitalsky mixes soil for planting beds from top soil and composted manure.
After hours of hard work in preparing the ground for planting, and research to determine what plant species would be best for winter growing in the high tunnel, the students planted kale, spinach, hardy lettuce, and swiss chard and a few other experimental plants.
The students also enjoyed a visit from Mike Kwasniewski, owner of the Charm Farm in Beverly. Kwasniewski talked to the students about the basics of starting and running a small business followed by a visit to the greenhouse where he made some management and growing suggestions.
As the greenhouse crops have begun to grow, the students hand pick, package, and price the produce before selling it in the driveway of the school many days after school.
The students report that they have no trouble selling their winter vegetables and even have parents stopping in to see if there are any greens left on days when they sell out.
Cheryl Jacko, principal and entrepreneurship teacher, said, "The students are really enjoying this project and learning a lot about small business management. We are very appreciative to the Tucker Community Foundation and our matching donors, Carter, Henderson and all the others who have contributed to this project.
"Besides learning small business skills, a goal of this project is to help our students discover ways they can develop business opportunities right here in our area. We want to see our graduates stay here to build our local community while supporting themselves through private enterprise.
"They are also learning a lot about sustainable, local agriculture, which we promote. It is a win, win opportunity for our students."