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Students Start Businesses

Ava Thomas (`18) makes school logo jewelry in her own business Sterling GA Charms.

The Class

Gilmour Academy’s Management and Entrepreneurship class is designed to instill important qualities and knowledge into students to set them up for success when starting their own businesses.

The goal of the course is to teach students how to use design theory to solve problems. Mr. Steve Marcus, a first year teacher at the Academy, changed the course from business introduction to lifelong skills development for future careers.

Marcus previously taught business classes at Hathaway Brown. Before he became a teacher, he worked in the medical transcription business for 35 years. He started two companies as a a part owner and later sold then. When bringing his expertise to Gilmour, Marcus wanted students to focus on finding problems and brainstorming ways to solve them.

Some young entrepreneurs at Gilmour are working toward starting their own businesses. Ava Thomas (‘18) has her own business, Sterling GA Charms. Thomas sells silver necklaces, charms and lapel pins to raise money for the 2016-2017 track team.

Thomas got the idea when she went to Mulholland & Sachs in the Eaton Chagrin Boulevard shopping center and saw jewelry with other private school logos. After working with Marcus to create a business plan to pitch to the Athletic Director and the Head of Communications, Thomas received approval to use the GA logo in her designs.

Thomas said, “Taking the class has helped with the financial side of my existing business and helped me create a potentially new business called Memory Mat.” Thomas also credits Speech and Debate for helping her develop memorization and public speaking skills. Thomas believes both classes helped her establish a well rounded basis of information and skills that contribute to her business interests.

On the Outside

Nick Majer (‘18) has also created his own business. Politifund is a crowdfunded lobbying platform that enables everyday citizens to gain access to lobbyists to push their personal political agenda in order to help them get a voice in politics.

Majer said, “It was a collaborative effort to come up with the idea, but we started with questioning the ways that everyday citizens can get their voices heard in politics. After realizing that big corporations and super PACs have much more influence in politics, we decided that everyday citizens should have access to lobbyists. However, lobbyists are expensive so this is where the crowdfunding comes in.”

While Major has not taken a specific business class at Gilmour, the MIT Launch summer program helped him learn about entrepreneurship. This is where he and his three partners brainstormed their business idea.

Beyond Class

One of Marcus’ goals going forward is to have a completely student-run business within the next two years such as a coffee shop or food station. Though Marcus believes Gilmour students have a very tight and busy schedule, he is hopeful that some young entrepreneurs will use their talents and the school’s resources to start businesses.

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Ana Callitsis is a young writer who is excited about exploring the journalism field and becoming more diverse in her writing skills. She entered into Gilmour Academy as a freshman without knowing a single person. However she was able to tackle this challenge with the help of joining a fall sport to learn some new faces before entering into a new school year. In the first semester of her senior year, Ana tested her creative writing skills in Mr. Greenfield’s course the Art and Craft of Writing. She is looking forward to attending one of the two universities: University of Cincinnati or University of Dayton in the fall. Ana intends to continue her education by pursuing the challenging field of marketing and advertisement in the business world. Eventually, she hopes to obtain a job in a major sports team or large corporation. To strengthen her writing, Ana has taken AP Composition, The Art and Craft of Writing, and Multimedia Journalism. She enjoys being a young journalist with special interests in sports, marketing, advertising, and various forms of writing.