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Lemonade Town builds community feeling
at Herkimer BOCES Pathways Academy

Sept. 23, 2016

Students selling lemonade during school opening event
Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES Pathways Academy at Remington student Orion Hazelton maneuvers a mobile lemonade stand through the Pathways gymnasium during the Lemonade Town marketplace on Tuesday, Sept. 13. Pathways Academy held a Lemonade Town orientation activity for the first five days of this school year.

ILION – Students in the Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES Pathways Academy at Remington spent the first five days of this school year working on a Lemonade Town project with people they might not normally interact with.

The orientation activity included students from various grades teaming up in groups with staff such as teachers, teaching assistants, counselors and custodians to create fake small businesses designed to sell lemonade-based products.

“It was the logical next step for us in creating a school community here,” Pathways Academy General Education Principal Jon Bryant said.

The Pathways Academy at the Remington Educational Complex in Ilion is for students in the Herkimer BOCES region who have had a difficult time in a traditional school structure or have to catch up on credits but have the ability to get a high school diploma. Pathways Academy classes are project-driven and infuse career and technical education.

During the first four days of school this year, the 12 teams created business plans, applied for loans for Lemon Bucks from the fake Pathways Bank, developed their lemonade products and more in preparation for the fifth day.

The final day, on Sept. 13, involved students presenting about their businesses – in a way similar to the “Shark Tank” television show – to Herkimer BOCES administrators serving as judges.

Then Lemonade Town concluded with a marketplace event, during which all the groups set up lemonade stands in the Pathways gymnasium and sold their products in an attempt to make the most Lemon Bucks. All students and staff at Pathways were given at least $10 in Lemon Bucks, but they couldn’t spend the fake money at their own businesses.

The top two teams finished very close with Team Mancuso taking first place and Team Storms taking second place. Herkimer BOCES Board of Education member Daniel Voce has arranged for the top two teams to visit the F.X. Matt Brewing Co. to see how beverages are made there and sample Saranac soda products.

Team Mancuso included Diana Mancuso as the team leader with Jenna Krowicki, Seth Guido, Thadius Schook, Josh Papke, Andruw Oldfield, Brandon Smith, William Forbes, Tori Murray, Ethan Winkler and assisting staff Jamie Morrielle and Cathy Eysaman.

Team Storms included Monica Storms as the team leader with Regina Hughes, Andrew Snyder, Dante Grimes, Chance Everson, Deanna Higby, Wayne Brown, Ariana Heckwolf, Hunter Farr, Brandon Lamphere and assisting staff member Jennifer Harris.

The plan for Lemonade Town came after Bryant attended the National Association of Alternative Education Conference in March and heard about a similar activity at a school in Utah. Along with many other ideas related to academics, credit recovery and more, Bryant brought back the Lemonade Town concept to Pathways Academy.

Shortly after, a team of Pathways Academy staff started working on planning Lemonade Town – with Pathways Academy Administrative Intern Patty Frank serving as the chairwoman for the event. During the summer, the team continued to adapt the project for Pathways Academy, finished developing the plan and made other tweaks to it.

“I’m excited to see the students collaborate together,” Frank said, minutes before the final day’s activities started.

Lemonade Town has real-life applications teaching students about entrepreneurship and public speaking, while integrating character education on traits such as teamwork and leadership, Bryant said.

“It’s going awesome,” he said. “All kids have been engaged.”

The teams came up with ideas for lemonade-based products, worked with teacher Erica Haver to make the drinks, surveyed others on the taste of the drinks, made alterations to perfect the taste, determined names for their team businesses, created logos and slogans, built their lemonade stands with help from teacher Adam Spatto and developed marketing plans.

The drinks included standard lemonade, fruit flavored lemonade, blue lemonade, lemonade smoothies, lemonade snow cones and more.

Signs were hanging around the school advertising for the various brands. Teams had different plans for how much to sell their lemonade products for and specials such as buy one, get one free. During the marketplace, teams also sent out students with mobile stands to help push their products to people with Lemon Bucks to spend.

Pathways Academy social studies teacher Greg Jaros, of the Icey Blue Thunder team for Lemonade Town, said there has been a lot of teamwork during the project, and everything went very well.

“A lot of kids who usually don’t speak up or get involved are stepping up,” Jaros said. “I’m very impressed with how the kids have come together.”

Pathways Academy senior student Jenna Krowicki, of Central Valley, won her subLEMONal team some Lemon Bucks for her good behavior, created the team’s logo and won a brain challenge for the team. Each day, there were brain and physical challenges that allowed teams to win additional Lemon Bucks.

“I think it’s interesting and fun,” Krowicki said, of Lemonade Town.

Her favorite parts of the activity were designing things for her team and working with Mancuso on their team, Krowicki said.

Mancuso, who is a special programs teacher and was on the planning team for Lemonade Town, said that as expected, there was some pull back from Lemonade Town by the students at first, but things quickly turned around.

“By lunchtime the first day, everybody started getting into it,” she said, adding that it became very competitive.

Older students took younger students under their wings during the program, so teamwork was developed, Mancuso said.

The entrepreneurship aspect of Lemonade Town also is helpful for Pathways Academy students because most of them don’t see themselves working for others, Mancuso said.

“Many students in the program want to be their own boss, so the project shows them what goes into running in your own business,” she said.

Pathways Academy mental health counselor Michele Trinkaus, who also was on the Lemonade Town planning team, also said there are a lot of Pathways Academy students who would rather run their own business than work for someone else.

“They’re seeing some of what it’s like to run their own business,” Trinkaus said. “This is showing them what it takes to run a business.”

Trinkaus was on the DOTS – Drinks On The Side – team for Lemonade Town. The name comes from the DOTS lemonade stand offering side options for the drink such as choosing lime or lemon and putting in blue ice, straws and mini umbrellas.

Trinkaus noticed that the program has led students to improve their problem solving and ability to quickly resolve issues among each other because they knew they had to keep working together throughout the project.

The way the teams were set up allowed students and staff to work with new people, and as a mental health counselor who normally works with just certain students, she found the process helpful for building the school community.

“I’m getting to know a whole bunch of students I don’t normally have access to,” she said.

Junior student Carl Hughes, of Poland, also was on the DOTS team. He said he liked Lemonade Town more than being in class and agreed that the activity helps you get to know more people in the school.

“I’m used to working with the same teachers all day,” he said.

Hughes, who was working before the event with Trinkaus and teaching assistant Jose Lopez to finalize the blue lemonade the DOTS team made, said his favorite part was “probably being involved in the process of making the lemonade and working on changes to the drink.”

Lopez said Hughes also became the voice of the team, and Hughes was one of the team’s presenters.

Hughes quickly took the focus back to making sure the flavor of the blue lemonade for the marketplace matched the taste produced during earlier testing.

"I like it like that," he said, after taking a sip. "I think it's good right there."

Student presents about Lemonade Town project to BOCES administrators
Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES Pathways Academy at Remington student Aubrey Ward presents to Herkimer BOCES administrators serving as judges during a portion of Lemonade Town based on the “Shark Tank” television show.

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