While most elementary students would build a paper mache volcano for their science fairs, fifth graders at the Hebrew Academy of the Five Towns and Rockaway were creating start-ups for an entrepreneur fair.
After a short ceremony celebrating their promotion to the sixth grade, students and their families gathered to admire the work they had done throughout the school year.
“Children are inspired to do amazing things during their lives and they don’t even realize where that inspiration comes from … we wanted to introduce these students, specifically to the skills that the market has turned towards,” said Rabbi Baruch Noy, HAFTR’s lower school coordinator for STEM (Science, technology, engineering and mathematics).
Rabbi Noy said preparing the students for the work world after school is the goal.
“There was a lot of trying and failing and learning from their failures, which is the business world, so if they have that experience when they’re younger they won’t mind so much when they get older,” he said. “We have to prepare our students for that reality, if they have a good idea and know the skills they need they can make it on their own.”
Students were given a budget, pitched their products and some even completed prototypes. HAFTR hopes to expand this project said lower school principal Joy Hammer.
“We want to bring it down to a younger level, let fourth-graders start it next year, and we want to move it up so that the project and the ideas of developing something continues through eighth grade,” she said. Hammer is hopeful that by the time that these students graduate some will have finished their products.
The students were quite eager to show off all their hard work. One of students, Joey Cohen, said he’d probably like to be an entrepreneur when he gets older because, “It’s fun.”
The excitement that other students were feeling was palpable, as many were jumping up and down while explaining their ideas and their different roles in their group.
Some students said they enjoyed engineering their idea while others had more fun pitching and marketing it, but all played some role.
Benjamin Gross, HAFTR’s director of information technology and educational technology was very happy with what the students did with their products.
“It’s really inspiring to see these kids come up with these amazing ideas, be excited and want to build on it,” he said, “I think that we’re starting something really special.”