Holiday boutique teaches students business skills

On a recent Wednesday, Top of the World Elementary School's multipurpose room was like downtown Laguna Beach the weekend before Christmas.

But instead of harried shoppers carrying bags of store-bought goods, all the items being sold were homemade. And the most expensive gift cost a whopping $2.

The school hosted its annual Holiday Boutique Dec. 19. Students, parents and even some alumni browsed booth after booth filled with goodies made by the fifth-grade students.

"It gives the student body a chance to do some holiday shopping and it gives the fifth-graders a chance to feel a little bit what it's like to run a business," said fifth-grade teacher Teryl Campbell.

All the money raised — $4,645.25 — goes toward a worthy cause, usually within the community, with each of the four fifth-grade classes choosing.

"What I hope the kids get out of this is that the holidays can be fun and they have the creative process to make it better for someone," said Principal Ron La Motte. "They have the ability to make a difference to those less fortunate."

Booths featured a variety of items from jewelry, angel ornaments, hot chocolate and coffee to Christmas cards, sun catchers and bookmarks.

Some students decided to offer games instead of goods, such as tossing quarters into cups to win a prize, or knocking down cans. One boy offered the chance to win a Globe skateboard by purchasing a $1 raffle ticket.

"I think the Holiday Boutique is really fun because they have really interesting things and creative things," said Jaden Shalala, 8.

Campbell said the fifth-graders were taught about making a profit and encouraged to use items they have at home or that were inexpensive. Students also had to adjust their prices to make sure items sold. This year, some children were helping each other make sales, she said.

Fifth-grader Kenya Ripley-Dunlap, 10, sold cards, knitted bracelets and pompoms. Based on her business plan, Kenya projected she would make $30.

"It's been really fun because all the other years I used to look forward to buying stuff," she said.

Twitter: @britneyjbarnes

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