New program facilitates student-created businesses

Lindsey Bennett
Print Editor

Former Marketing I and II teacher Kara Siebe introduced a new program for this school year that breaks down barriers of what traditional school looks like and accomplishes.

Thrive Incubator is “a unique, hands-on, experiential learning adventure by way of a business incubator facility,” according to the WGHS website.

In Thrive, students are given the tools to create their own businesses with the help of Siebe, mentors and the community.
“She’s put her heart and soul into one program to help kids really find their own creativity and bring it to life, which is great… it is so fun to be there every single day with her,” senior Jessica Peterson said about Siebe.

Currently, 21 students are enrolled in the program that is open to juniors and seniors. Students travel to an off-site location, 3232 S. Brentwood Blvd., for the first three periods of the school day.

The location does not resemble a classroom. There are cubicles, couches, meeting tables, coffee stations and everything found in an office.

Senior Jessica Peterson collaborates with her group, The Equipped Project. Photo by Elise Keller

The space allows for easy collaboration among groups. Students described plans to decorate their respective spaces with lights and artwork, further displaying the creative license given to them.

Knit Happens
Seniors Mia Louise Stechschulte, Quin Dolan, Kameron Yancey and Izzy Heintz and junior Chris Hollandsworth united to create Knit Happens, a non-profit to raise money for different charities by selling knitted hats.

The group’s hand-made creations will be sold in local businesses such as Paisley Boutique, Story Seven and The Novel Neighbor.

“We make hand-knitted hats and for every hat bought, a certain amount of proceeds are donated to a local St. Louis organization,” Stechschulte said.

Each month, the hats will benefit a different cause: October for the St. Louis Breast Cancer Association, November for Gateway 180 homeless shelter and so on.

“When you buy hats from us, you are helping support the St. Louis community,” Stechschulte said.

Right now, the group is making the hats and working to partner with stores.

Customers can catch Knit Happens at the Webster Tackles Cancer football game and follow it on Instagram for more information @knithappens.stl.

The Equipped Project
This non-profit was founded by seniors Jessica Peterson, Courtney Lumpkins, Angelina Arinze and Elaine Roberts and junior Dana Buford. The Equipped Project aims to provide donated instruments and sporting equipment to students in the district who cannot afford to purchase them.

“We take their old equipment, we take their old instruments and we clean them up then give them to new students who might want to go into that sport and might not have the money to play for that sport. Technically, we are giving students the means to go into whatever field they want,” Peterson said.

Around sixth grade, students are expected to choose from a list of music programs like band, orchestra or choir. They also are encouraged to join sports teams. The group’s non-profit allows every student an equal opportunity to pursue their chosen field.
Currently, the organization is in the stage of filling out paperwork and taking donations, which will be stored in a space donated by a community member.

The first donation drop-off took place Sept. 21, at Roberts Gym. The business hopes to be helping students before the winter sports season.

Those who are interested can follow them on Instagram for updates and donation details @equippedproject.

Seniors Angelina Arinze, Dana Buford and Courtney Lumpkins work in the Thrive space on Brentwood Boulevard on their non-profit, The Equipped Project. Peterson said, “It’s a whole long process to become a real and official business… and it’s fun!” Photo by Elise Keller

STL Dry Aged LLC
This meat business was founded by seniors Tommy Koelling, Becca Kinworthy, Cecily Schmanske and Ethan Doll. STL Dry Aged LLC aims to produce and sell dry aged steaks.

Dry aging is a process that “makes it (the steak) more tender, more flavorful,” Koelling said.

So far, the business has purchased a refrigerator, a local Church has donated its FDA- approved kitchen for use, and the group has become an official LLC. Members are working to get their “Servsafe Certification,” which will allow them to legally handle food.

STL Dry Aged LLC will start by selling to friends and family before pursuing other business ventures.

Seniors Jake Greer, Masen Hornberger, Carter Burton and Ethan Barrs are creating an app called “FlyThru” that allows users to view drive-thru wait times. Barrs came up with the concept last year in Siebe’s Marketing I class.

“None of us know how to code so we’re making a prototype out of publishing and photoshopping apps,” Greer said.

Currently, the seniors are searching for an individual to code the app or to buy the concept. Creating the prototype allows them to pitch their idea to those interested.

“We have mentors that help us out a lot and without them we probably wouldn’t know what to do or what any of our next steps would be,” Greer added.

Seniors Noel Spatola, Claire Kellick and James Hickey finalize designs for their sticker making business, STKRZ. Photo by Elise Keller

Seniors James Hickey, Noel Spatola and Claire Kellick have grouped together to create a sticker-selling business.

“We are a small business that designs, prints and sells all of our own stickers,” Kellick said.

The stickers are custom to WGHS sports, clubs, organizations, other small businesses, as well as miscellaneous fun stickers, Kellick said.

Currently, the group is in the testing process to determine sticker quality.
Kellick added the group is, “Making sure that our quality is top-notch.”

The business should be up-and-running by mid-October. Customers can follow their progress on Instagram @stkrz.stl.


Lindsey Bennett – Print Editor

This is print editor Lindsey Bennett’s second year on ECHO staff, but she made several contributions while taking journalism class her sophomore year.


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