Middle School Students at SIFE's World Trade Expo

Siloam Springs, Ark (November 12, 2001) - John Brown University’s Students in Free Enterprise will sponsor the 11th Annual SIFE World Trade Expo on Tuesday, November 27 at the Northwest Arkansas Mall. Close to 100 Northwest Arkansas middle school students will participate in the event and experience the principles of free enterprise for themselves.

Sixth, seventh and eighth graders representing six area schools attend business-oriented classes at JBU. The daylong session includes discussions on economics, currency exchange rates and cultural diversity. Back in their own classrooms, teams are chosen and the young entrepreneurs decide develop a prototype of a product to market and sell at the Expo and go into production. Students are also responsible for developing a business plan, designing and creating signage and creating a commercial. They will open for business Nov. 27.

In Siloam Springs Middle School, sixth grader Alison Lamb serves as CEO of the Wonderful Winter Whimsies. Working with her are teammates Grayce Holcomb, Heather Foley, Katherine Schneider and Meaghan Guthrie. Production of jeweled glass candleholders and a holiday cocoa mix/mug set has been completed, and the company is gearing up for the Expo. Lamb says the experience has been a lot of fun and not so hard. She said the biggest challenge was to figure out the costs and purchase everything for less than $100. They went a little over budget, so the CEO and her staff took out a small loan from one of the teachers. The loan is to be repaid with profits from the Expo.

This real life experience helps students understand and appreciate the economic system in which they live. In addition to the student booths will be an International Fashion Show and Market featuring international students wearing typical native dress and selling products from their countries. “Entrepreneur of the Year” Etta Pruitt Martin will also be on hand signing books.

According to Karla Villalobos, JBU SIFE team member, students have historically shown tremendous interest in the total experience. “They love the World Trade Expo, and every year we have more interested in participating.” This year approximately 100 middle school students from Siloam Springs, Gentry, and Gravette as well as representatives from J.O. Kelly Middle School, Helen Tyson Middle School and Greenland Middle School will participate.

SIFE is the world’s preeminent collegiate free enterprise organization. Its vision is to help people achieve their dreams through free enterprise education. SIFE challenges students on more than 750 college campuses nationwide to take what they’re learning in the classroom and use their knowledge to better their communities. Guided by faculty advisors who are named Sam M. Walton Free Enterprise Fellows in honor of the late Wal-Mart founder, SIFE teams establish a variety of community outreach programs that teach free enterprise.

JBU’s SIFE Team has a long history of successful community service and has been regional champions for the last nine years. John Brown University is a private university with an enrollment of more than 1,600 students from 46 states and 30 countries. JBU is a member of the Arkansas Independent Colleges and Universities and the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities.

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