By Maryanne Saxon
Sad news: Your Great Uncle Leo has passed on to greener pastures.
Not so sad news: Good Ol’ Uncle Leo named you his sole beneficiary, and left you a sizable piece of property in an exotic location.
Finally, your life-long desire to establish and manage the resort of your dreams (think Kellerman’s, from Dirty Dancing) is possible!
There’s just one glitch. You know NOTHING about planning, funding or operating a resort.
Thankfully, dozens of future executives are ready to help you with every step. Be warned, their advice most likely will come at a premium. And never mind they they are eating brown-bagged lunches. Savvier businessmen and women would be hard to find.
We’re talking about students from Frelinghuysen Middle School’s 6th-grade Quest class. They have been working with volunteers from SCORE, a free business mentoring service, for several months on a project called WOWSEE, short for World of Work Simulated Entrepreneurial Experience.
The project culminated recently with a Shark Tank– style presentation at the Lafayette Learning Center in Morristown. Students made pitches to SCORE members, who acted as judges and potential investors.
Students created virtual resorts, from the ground up. They named CEOs, CFOs and advertising/marketing executives, created business plans, developed budgets, analyzed projected P/L statements (Profit/Loss) and SWOTs (Strengths/Weaknesses/Opportunities/Threats), hatched marketing and advertising campaigns, and created websites.
Throughout the process, SCORE volunteers visited classes to provide real-world guidance and insight.
The Rockerz Resort, headed by 6th grader-turned-CEO Tomi Webber, displayed a glowing sign and a unique approach to the world of resorting.
Donning Rockerz shirts, the corporate team pitched a business plan filled with reasonable room rates and a long list of attractions. The band Fall Out Boy is “scheduled” to perform at the resort this spring. Rockerz sounded like a jamming good time.
For a more relaxed getaway, members of the Coral Cove corporate group pitched a “home away from home” proposal to the judges. The Fame and Fortune Resort team, professionally attired with red power ties, came prepared to speak about their 3-5 year projections, with promises to repay their mythical investors with all due haste.
The judges found the students to be articulate, and their web designs, commercials and pamphlets, creative and well researched. Thoughtful and ambitious, these pitches left nothing to chance.
Now in its fourth year, the WOWSEE program was orchestrated by FMS Quest teachers Bruce Chamberlain and Carlene Henke.
“The presentations just keep getting more sophisticated,”said Mrs. Henke, as she sat back and enjoyed the final pitches.
Bill Carlucci, a SCORE volunteer who has been with WOWSEE from the start, said he “is blown away” by what the kids deliver each year.
But enough chitchat. We have to go now and book our vacation at Rockerz, before it sells out.