NEW ALBANY — Prosser Career Education Center is introducing local middle school students to the variety of educational and career opportunities they can pursue.
The New Albany school is presenting a free summer youth camp for grades six through eight highlight programs offered at Prosser. This is the second year of the program, which began last week and is wrapping up this Thursday.
Last week, the school offered camps for military and criminal justice, and this week, the camps included business and fire/rescue. Prosser Principal Nancy Campbell said it’s a “way to expose that age group to what we do.”
“From Prosser’s standpoint, we knew the key to us maintaining our enrollment was to reach out to the younger kids,” she said.
The criminal justice program included lessons from local agencies such as the Floyd County Prosecutor’s Office, and, in the automotive camp, Campbell said, students constructed a “mini car.”
The fire and rescue program featured lessons such as CPR instruction, and the business camp featured instruction on the “basics of business,” including talks from local entrepreneurs.
There are about 15 to 20 students in each program.
Matthew Hyde, marketing and business teacher at Prosser, led this week’s business camp. He said the summer program is a “great outreach tool.”
The “career exploration” camp was focused on ship, and each day entrepreneurs of the camp features a different guest speaker, which ranged from a kid who runs a trading card business to a financial planner with Edward Jones.
The camp also features creative activities, including an exercise inspired by “Shark Tank” to coming up with ideas for businesses they could start with a specific amount of money. On Wednesday, students brainstormed ideas for products that real companies could offer.
“It’s a lot of creativity we’re doing with them to emphasize the importance of entrepreneurship,” Hyde said.
Kendall Schindler was among the guest speakers at this week’s business camp. She graduated from Floyd Central High School this year and attended Prosser’s business program for two years. She talked to students about her baking business, Kendall’s Kreations, which she started when she was 12.
She will be attending Indiana University Southeast to study marketing and finance. She talked Wednesday to students about what it takes to start one’s own business.
“A lot of them are 12 years old, and four of the girls in there have started their own business…so they were asking me some questions,” Schindler said.
The camp featured a group of students who attend Rock Creek Community Academy and run their own jewelry business called Her Jewelry. Ella Dunn, an 11-year-old going into seventh grade, said their business started in April “because we all had our own clay bead sets, but we were all broke.” They have made about $250 from their business.
“So we needed money, and then we started selling at school,” she said.
They learned about the Prosser camp from their school. Vera Sanders, 12, said the camp has been an “incredible experience.” She is also involved in the jewelry business.
“There’s a way more to running a business than I thought, and you need so many different goals to make sure it’s running smoothly,” she said.
Hannah Jessee, 11, said the jewelry business “has changed her life” by allowing her to earn money and “have fun with friends.” The Prosser camp has shown the importance of creativity, she said.
Riley Helm, 12, said the business camp has taught her many new things about entrepreneurship.
“I’ve learned that if I want to do something, I should pursue that and do it,” she said.
The program showed how “innovative the next generation really is,” Schindler said.
Campbell said that while many in Southern Indiana may have heard of Prosser, there is still a need to familiarize people with the school and the variety of pathways it offers.
“We do have students who do go right into the work, we do have students who go right into the military,” she said. “We have students who go into a two-year school and a four-year school. We have students who will come to us for a career program and maybe not go into that career, but they have certifications and a transcript with college credit.”