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Release date: March 1, 2004
WBU SIFE team works in area schools

Wayland Baptist University student Ragan Spradling works with a group of kids at Tulia Junior High as part of a Students in Free Enterprise program. Wayland's SIFE team has visited area schools, teaching students about entrepreneurship.PLAINVIEW -- Wayland Baptist University's Students In Free Enterprise (SIFE) team is wrapping up a month of working with elementary students in area schools.

              Several business students at Wayland have been working at schools in Lorenzo, Crosbyton, Lockney and Estacado Junior High in Plainview and will be heading to Crowell, Hale Center and Tulia, implementing a curriculum that teaches elementary students about business and entrepreneurship.

              "We feel very strongly that these kids are our future business leaders," said Amber Barrera, a junior from Crowell, who is heading the project. "If we are not going to teach them about business and ethics, then nobody is going to teach them."

              The team's curriculum is designed to meet specifications for the TAKS test which has elementary schools all over the state scrambling to meet education standards.

              "This hits one of the business components of TAKS," Barrera said. "We teach them about supply and demand. We teach them about advertising and why it is so important to advertise your business. We teach them what an entrepreneur is and why it is important to become an entrepreneur."

              The group gives students a pre-test to determine where they stand in their business knowledge. After working through the curriculum, the students are tested again to see what they have learned. Barrera said this is also done so the team can measure its results.

              Once the teaching is done, team members introduce students to an interactive entrepreneur game at www.disney.com called Hot Shot Business. Students get to chose between running a pet spa or comic shop. Using what they have learned, they develop their own business. The program runs for six weeks.

              "At the end of each week, it gives you a run down of how much you gained that week and how much you lost," Barrera explained. "It kind of outlines weekly goals for them. We discuss that with them then they use what they have learned to make a bigger profit."

              Barrera said the SIFE team also develops different projects for the students, including things such as check writing.

              "We tell them a little bit about bank statements and how important they are," Barrera said. "We give them deposit slips and they get to deposit some play money. Then we teach them about financial management."

              The SIFE team has spent all of February working on the volunteer project which will stretch into March, hoping to promote business education.

              "We want to help our communities gain a little more understanding about what entrepreneurship is and why it is so important," she said.