BRIGHT FUTURES — Memorial High entrepreneurs create online apparel stores
Published 12:40 am Saturday, February 20, 2021
When it comes to her students at Memorial High School, Cheryl Beasley is all about the soft skills. Her passion is obvious, and that works hand-in-hand with her real-life application of education.
Students learn about post-high school options like college, apprenticeships, military, entrepreneurship and workforce, and Beasley takes student feedback to create options for each student’s interest.
Beasley — the school’s employability skills instructor — said 90 percent of her students are seniors, and they are taken on college and workplace tours, where they typically get to spend the day in the area of their interest.
Seminars for professional skills, soft skills and employer/employee expectations are also part of the curriculum.
The pandemic and its social-distance requirements presented a challenge this academic year, so Beasley decided their newest project would be to become entrepreneurs.
She said many students in graduating classes of 2020 and 2021 are struggling with life after high school and how to see the light in a very unpredictable time.
“I want them to know that being their own business owner is a real possibility,” Beasley said. “This also gives them the experience of being someone in charge, and how what they have learned, concerning soft skills, is invaluable.”
According to Beasley, her soft skill instruction is based on responsibility, developing a positive attitude, accountability, goal-setting, timeliness and communication.
The Memorial High class used this week to create an apparel store and sell their products, which is available at Teespring.com.
The web company is a social commerce platform where users create and sell custom products online. Products are made on demand, so there are no upfront costs, and local users can create their own stores and market the items in whatever way they see fit.
“The children are basically creating residual income stores that they can continue to build on, after the project is over, or leave as is,” Beasley said. “By sharing this news with the public, with links to the children’s stores, I believe it will give them a great dose of hope in seeing that they are able to create something that others are interested in.”
Students have already come up with different ideas, with Beasley noting quite a few are talented artists.
She hopes the public will purchase items from the students’ stores or companies offer startup business grants, minority grants or gifts.
“All my children are minorities, and with this being Black History Month, it would also be a good BHM story of hope for this current generation, and also future generations,” Beasley said. “Business is no longer as usual.”
Teespring has a variety of items that can be sold, and students are encouraged to place their designs on T-shirts, hoodies, sweatshirts, leggings, jogging pants, iPhone and Android cases, bags, stickers and mugs.
About the program
The class is an Opportunity Now program funded through Texas Workforce.
Beasley works for Opportunity Now, which is a company that is a part of XPSynergy.
“We are funded through Texas Workforce to teach College, Career and Military Readiness (CCRM), and with a heavy thrust on soft skills,” Beasley said. “We have partnered with them for the last three years. I have been the instructor of this class, at Memorial High School, for all three years. This is currently my third year as the employability skills instructor.”
Beasley hopes this project allows students to experience their first purchase(s) and what it is like to have a residual income platform that follows them after they graduate.
There is also the opportunity to continue to expand their store or leave as is.
Local student links
Alejandro Guerra Maldanado