Rural High School Engages District & Community with Student-Based Enterprise Blog Feature

By: Margo Ensz on November 10th, 2014

Print/Save as PDF

Rural High School Engages District & Community with Student-Based Enterprise

Grade Level: Secondary (7-12) | VariQuest Tools: Design Center Software | VariQuest Tools: Perfecta 2400 | VariQuest Tools: Cutout Maker 1800 | Academic Subject: Career & Technical Education | VariQuest Tools: Cold Laminator 2510


Rural Otterville, Missouri has a new business in town, and its location may surprise you!

November's VariQuest Super School belongs to a district with a K-12 student population of about 250. The high school's Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) chapter encourages and fosters student leadership by using VariQuest Visual Learning Tools to teach business skills.

Otterville High School FBLA Chapter: Meeting School Needs & Engaging the Community

In 2013, Otterville High School applied for and received an Enhancement Grant, which is a type of Career Education Grant available through the Missouri Department of Education.  The school used this grant to purchase VariQuest Visual Learning Tools to support their FBLA chapter. The schools owns:Sample_Order_Form

We recently spoke with Cindy Birdwell, Business Instructor and FBLA Advisor, who explained,

“The VariQuest Tools have made a world of difference in my classroom. They have opened up new technology for my students in a small rural community.” 

The Otterville FBLA Chapter has been able to use their VariQuest tools to promote school activities as well as engage the community with personal and business requests.“We have made posters, banners, large blank checks, flyers, vinyl clings and magnets. The members have been able to participate in marketing, sales, and accounting.” Birdwell and FBLA give students the chance for enhanced educational opportunities by helping them gain the skills they need to be successful leaders after high school.

The students create customized flyers and order forms and advertise their services at sporting events and to local merchants. They also receive orders from neighboring schools for full-color posters and banners printed with the Perfecta as well as vinyl lettering cutouts. In the community, they consistently receive orders from local organizations, including the Lamine River Hunt Club. For example, they recently made 30 signs with vinyl lettering from the Cutout Maker for the local truck and tractor pull. 

In addition to educating students and advancing the CTE programs within the district, Birdwell and the Otterville School District have assisted other schools in grant writing, explaining the benefits of VariQuest tools in the CTE classroom.


Opportunities for Student Leadership

Mrs. Birdwell empowers her students to take ownership of the VariQuest tools and of the business process. Students create their marketing materials, provide customer service, manage invoices, and execute product creation. The VariQuest tools are run exclusively by the students.

One student was able to attend the Central Business Teachers Association fall meeting in October 2013, which was a fantastic opportunity for the student leader to demonstrate his knowledge of the equipment. He showed exapmles of magnetic vehicle decals and vinyl window stickers created with the Cutout Maker as well as poster examples. He also created a takeaway vinyl logo with respective school colors as well as a ful color poster with the FBLA pledge, which "gave each prospective buyer a reminder of what they could have should they write an Enhancement Grant requesting VariQuest tools." 

Two students were able to assist a VariQuest representative at the Missouri Business Educational students2Association Conference this summer. Birdwell called it the highlight of the year:

"The administration allowing those two members the privilege of representing not only our school but our organization in presenting their usage and knowledge of VariQuest equipment to an educational audience was a feather in their cap."

At the conference, the Otterville FBLA brought along posters and magnetic and vinyl items to display. These examples were created for chapter usage or examples of community member purchases. While one student created on-site examples, the other interacted with conference attendees. Both students learned about patience, communication, organizational importance, and public relations.

Congratulations to Otterville High School FBLA and Cindy Birdwell for your success in using VariQuest Visual Learning Tools to create career pathways and help students gain valuable career and technical skills. We look forward to seeing your student-based enterprise grow! 

variquest sample kit

Will you be at ACTE CareerTech VISION 2014? Visit us in booth #111 to learn more about how VariQuest Visual Learning Tools can support CTE programs at your school. Follow us on Twitter for more updates.