It's the middle of summer and, yes, few kids are thinking about what lies ahead when they go back to school in August.
But at School of the Osage's Heritage Elementary, there's something fun and relatively new awaiting students, something parents and even grandparents played when they were in school -- tetherball. What makes the new tetherball court unique is that it's the brainchild of a handful of second graders who used their entrepreneurial skills to take the idea to fruition through fundraisers, yard work and good planning.
Many of the students involved in the project have moved on to Osage's Upper Elementary, but they have the satisfaction of knowing they made a difference not only for the kids in their Class of 2016-17 but for hundreds of students that will attend Heritage in many years to come.
Izzy Amsinger, daughter of Mark and Sarah Amsinger of Lake Ozark, came up with the idea after the tetherball court at a daycare she attended was disbanded. Why not have the same kind of fun at school, she thought, and share with her schoolmates?
From there, the idea snowballed. The immediate challenge was how to finance the project. Simple, they decided, why not create notecards at the hand of fellow art students, market and sell the cards on Facebook? The core team of eight students, with the blessing of second grade teacher Courtney Steen, went to art teacher Laura Hermann who combined her expertise with the talents of her students to create several notecard options. Ultimately, Mrs. Steen's class voted on which art to use.
As a windfall, a former School of the Osage student -- Mark Elliott -- saw the project on Facebook and wanted to help out. He donated $150 and that was enough to get the project rolling. He said he wanted to give back to the school that gave so much to him.
The note cards, available in packs of 32, sold for $5.50 a pack or two packs for $11 -- a sales approach used by many successful businessmen and women.
To supplement the notecard sales, the students' initial business plan was to make and sell rainbow loom bracelets and sell lemonade, but because the notecard sales went so well the additional fundraisers weren't necessary.
Students closely involved in the project were Adisyn Young, Allionna Hugen, Grace Ribaudo, Jude Sallee, Amsinger and Claudia Hayes. They became problem solvers and learned that by putting their collective heads together, talking through their challenges, they could accomplish their goal.