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High school students learn the art of business

Students at Wausau West High School turned the holidays into a business opportunity in their entrepreneurial class.

From the outside in, it would look like any other high school class you’ve ever seen before, but if you look closer, you’ll find out it’s far from typical.

They’ve started their own company. They sell stock, they choose a product, they manufacture that product, they do sales and marketing to sell the product to their friends, family, and community members. Then the students walk away with a paycheck at the end of the semester.” Stephanie Jahnke said to NewsChannel 7.

Jahnke is the teacher leading the class, but she’s more like the manager in the midst of a business operation. During the class’ open house Wednesday, customers saw just that. The group is selling holiday greeting cards.

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Wausau barista business giving special needs students independence and job skills

Wausau

WSAW.com: In the halls of Wausau East High School a group of students is gaining independence and job skills while running a business.

“They’re starting to believe in themselves. They’re starting to think ‘Oh, I can do this,” explained teacher Anissa Walter.

She’s the organizer for Jack’s Joe. The mobile coffee business, run by students with special needs, is a play on the name of the school mascot– the Lumberjacks.

Students, like Elizabeth and Sarah are learning how to be a team, manage inventory and handle money. Skills that will prepare them for the real world.

The business was created through a grant from Reach for the Stars. Since last spring, the rolling coffee shop is a favorite of staff and students.

The coffee is donated by Tom Belongia, owner at Biggby Coffee.

He said he was happy to be apart of the project.

“The teachers had seen a video online of a similar program and they were actually at Biggby Coffee and brainstorming and they asked, ‘Is this something you could actually help us out with?’ I though it was such a beautiful wonderful idea and it fit,” Belongia recalled.

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Wausau librarian wins $100k for media lab

Wausau Daily Herald: Paula Hase thought she was attending an anti-bullying assembly Tuesday morning with fellow teachers, staff members and students in the gym of Wausau East High School.

But instead, the school’s librarian was handed an over-sized check for $100,000. Hase was one of six teachers across the country who won an online contest sponsored by Farmers Insurance called Thank America’s Teachers Dream Big Challenge. The money will be used to significantly upgrade the schools broadcasting lab. Right now, the lab uses analog video equipment, and the cash will allow the school to purchase state-of-the-art video cameras, computers and editing equipment.

“I think this is one of those defining moments,” Hase said immediately after announcement was made, fighting back tears. “This is the highlight of my career. … This broadcasting lab will put us, really central Wisconsin, at an advantage point in direct competition (with the rest of the country.) So these are exciting times and we’re looking forward to developing this.”

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‘We are 1’ event brings Wausau students together

WSAW.com: In the past 10 years, Wausau East has seen an increase in diversity among students, and because of those rising numbers, teachers brought back a togetherness program that they used four years ago to promote unity in the school.

The program is called, ‘We are 1,’ and last year’s Wausau East seniors were the last ones to experience it. That’s why teachers thought it was time to bring it back.

The idea is to promote tolerance, and togetherness throughout the school community and show kids that they’re more alike, then they are different.

Students filed into the cafeteria for lunch on Thursday and were greeted with quite the surprise, as music filled the room and sweet treats were handed out to promote the “We are 1,” message.

The school said they hadn’t seen any diversity issues recently, but getting the message of being kind to one another across is still an important task.

“This is every bodies school regardless of who your parents are, or where you live,” explained Wausau East teacher Christy Powell.

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Wausau Teacher Named Wisconsin Health Education Teacher of the Year

John Muir Middle School teacher Patricia (Patty) Zemke was named Health Education Teacher of the Year by the Wisconsin Health and Physical Education (WHPE) Association. Zemke received her award at the WHPE Association’s annual convention in Wisconsin Dells.

Zemke was recognized for her significant contributions to the profession in the areas of teaching, research, creative activities, and service. She engages her students to participate in authentic community involvement relative to health and healthy living. Her students have ‘bagged the butts’ in a local park, worked with third graders using “I Love Not Smoking” coloring books, and developed and distributed positive health messages for “brown bags” and “movie messages.” They have also implemented and continue to participate in the “grab and go” breakfast program.

John Muir Principal Larry Mancl said, “Patty is a champion advocate for students. Her vigilance in developing and implementing a comprehensive and relevant health curriculum for our district middle school students is highly recognized!  She has provided staff with best and promising practices to maintain student attention and focus by providing brain breaks and physical movement.”

Zemke began teaching in the Wausau School District in 1996 and holds a Masters in Education from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.