REFUGIO, Texas — Every fall semester, the Refugio Career Technology Education classes are split into groups with the top kids in each class placed as leaders for the groups. The rest of the students then submit resumes and interview with the group leaders, hoping to join their team.
The students leaders are essentially the bosses, and their groups are their businesses.
“We just have to make sure people weren’t slacking,” said junior Caleb Hasseltine. “If somebody is struggling in one aspect, I’ll move them over. We help each other out to create the best working environment we can.”
The students put into the leadership positions are given a lot of responsibility to make sure their “businesses” are successful.
“Being a leader was kind of tough,” said senior Jordan Kelley. “We had to figure out percentage and everything, what everybody was gonna get.”
The students have to make sure their groups are enticing so their fellow students will want to join them.
“We picked the workers that we would want, and we offered them a contract. Whichever one they felt like going to, they would sign to,” said senior Aaron Aranda.
Once the groups settle, the students decide what products they want to design, create and sell.
“We got it done after making prototypes and stuff, it was smooth sailing after that,” said senior Ty Lafrance. “We all got to make something different, so it was a good experience trying to get everybody to work, and getting as much done as possible.”
Once the final concepts are conceived, the students actually make their products, and the final products are then sold to the public.
“It was awesome to have the experience in this class. Coach Hawthorne did a good job in creating a real-life working environment,” Hasseltine said. “My favorite part was probably seeing our final product, and just seeing how well we worked as a team.”
The groups all created different products: vases, letter openers, cutting boards, clocks, jewelry cases and serving trays.
In just a few weeks, most of the products were sold, with people coming from as far away as Houston to pick up the products. The students were stunned to see the public reaction to their products.
“It feels good, people trusting in the kids’ work, showing the love to us, and I feel like we did a really good job this year,” Kelley said.
“It was awesome, just seeing the work we put in, seeing the final product, and being able to create something that will make something for people,” Hasseltine said.
“It felt good knowing we put in hard work on a board, and finish it after a couple of weeks, and then it sold pretty fast, so that means we did a really good job on it,” Lafrance said.
“Honestly, I really didn’t think people would buy my stuff, because it’s kind of expensive, and I don’t know if it’s really that good,” said senior Antwaan Gross. “But, it turned out good, and people bought it.”
The whole project gave the students valuable experience, but for Gross, it gave him inspiration.
“I really want to take business classes, so it gives me a leg up on doing business courses and all that,” he said. “It definitely inspired that. It’s really fun, makes you want to keep doing it.”
There are only a few products left available to purchase. Products can be purchased by contacting Mr. Kent Hawthorne at Refugio High School at 903-243-4581.
Hawthorne said the most special pieces from this year’s projects were ones created with wood from trees that were knocked down in Lions City Park by Hurricane Harvey. Hawthorne said the products made with that wood sold the quickest.
The CTE classes make products every fall semester, so if there are no more products available, there will be some available next year around the holidays.