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IN THE CLASSROOM: Other side of the counter

Top of the World fifth-graders learned the values of giving and entrepreneurism at their annual holiday boutique Wednesday morning.

“This is a great opportunity for the younger students to get some real-life experience handling money, counting the change and an opportunity to ‘shop’ for their family members and pets,” said Claudia Redfern, who works in the school’s office.

Kids came to the boutique throughout the morning with their classes, perusing handmade crafts.

The proceeds went to charities chosen by each fifth-grade class.

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In total, more than $3,000 was raised for organizations such as the Laguna Beach Animal Shelter, the Make-a-Wish Foundation, Share Our Selves and the Pacific Marine Mammal Center.

“The kids do it all themselves,” Principal Ron LaMotte said.

The boutique has become a tradition for the school’s matriculating class since its start in 2000.

Students Annie Brown, Ben Jones and Tatum Browne were excited to contribute more than $100 in earnings to Share Our Selves.

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“We felt that this was a worthy cause,” Jones said.

Crafts included wearables like pipe cleaner bracelets, beaded earrings and puffy-painted felt scarves; traditional tree ornaments; and a sensation among the boys — Alka Seltzer-powered rockets.

The effervescent missiles, packed in film containers, sold for $1 and contained enough fuel for four flights, according to signage displayed by their creators.

Many crafts sold out quickly, including giant faux lollipops constructed from paper plates and iridescent plastic wrap.

Students gathered craft ideas from their parents, the Internet, television and the city’s many summer art festivals.

Along with the crafts, enterprising students sold cookies, hot chocolate and root beer floats, which proved to be a hit among the kids — even at 8 a.m.

Less conventional early-morning goodies included nachos and freeze-dried ice cream, originally designed for astronauts, sold at 25 cents a chunk.

Nohlan Campbell made rockets, wreaths and other shapes from candies.

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Alexa Schnenk and Caspian Brock made about 80 bookmarks, selling 60. They raised more than $40 for charity.

“I’m happy that we don’t spend it,” Alexa said; she was happy to donate her earnings.

The kids modeled marketing techniques they’ve observed in real life, putting phrases like “The Perfect Gift” on their signs and cutting their prices throughout the day.

Many young entrepreneurs offered gift-wrapping services, carnival games and raffles for PlayStation games and systems.

Zoey Costanzo and Makenzie Fischer ran Z + Z’s Fun Zone, where kids played games such as The Ball Switcheroo.

Some students sold “magic reindeer food,” telling potential buyers to put the oatmeal-and-glitter mixture on their lawns the night before Christmas.

Kids were intent on raising funds for their charities, even going so far as to sell the booth decorations provided by their parents.

When a girl manning her booth was beckoned by her friend to visit, she called back, “I gotta work it!”

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