Inside the graphic design lab at Rolling Meadows High School, students with different career interests in business and design are working together to run startups.
The entrepreneurship stems from Rolling Meadows’ newest course, Small Business Management, co-run by educators Kent Dyer and Amy Vannatta. Together, the two have taught 21 students how to communicate with clients, collaborate with teammates, budget, create invoices, order supplies and design and produce a product.
Along with working with clients such as the school’s AVID program and spirit section, STAMPEDE, students have worked with Juliette Low Elementary, the Shannon McNamara 5K and the Rolling Meadows Fire Department to create and deliver t-shirts that incorporate intricate designs and details.
The hands-on course, which is in its first year, was recently featured in the Daily Herald and on Community Consolidated School District 59’s website. It serves as a capstone for students in several career pathways, including Finance, Visual Arts and Business Management, said Vannatta and Dyer, and provides them with authentic workplace learning experiences.
Principal Eileen Hart said the class is a “unique interdisciplinary course where students at Rolling Meadows High School are connected to creative and relative projects with community partners."
After each group works on a project, students reflect on the challenges they encountered and skills they gained.
Senior Raymond Liu said the course has helped him understand hands-on management, the importance of tight deadlines and the financial aspects of running a business.
Raymond, who has been in the Visual Arts pathway his entire high school career, hopes to become a user interface designer and is applying to colleges with graphic design programs. Last summer, he interned at Harper College in a graphic design position, which exposed him to a professional work environment.
“I feel like I’m at a great spot right now with what I’ve learned through my classes and outside projects,” said Raymond. “It’s helping me a lot through my journey.”
Senior Miranda Adelman is also in the Visual Arts pathway and said the Small Business Management course has helped her learn how to work with different clients and improve her time management skills.
“I don’t think I would have known what my career path would have been without the hands-on experience I gained in the graphic design and small business management classes,” said Miranda. “It really helped cement in my mind what I wanted to do as a career.”