Bolivar Students Embrace Workshop, Make Money in the Process

BOLIVAR, Mo -- Take a walk around Bolivar High School in 2018, and you're bound to see a teens face illuminated by a cell phone. 

Admittedly, junior Liberator Garrett Krtek isn't an exception to youthful habits.

However in Mrs. Ashley Brown's class, you need protection to look down. Otherwise blinded by the status quo.

"Yeah, going to college is great, but we also need those skilled workers. There's a demand and a need for that too," said Mrs. Brown.

It's a perfect match for Krtek. "I've always been a hands on person."

The Agricultural Construction class creates various projects throughout the semester, from fence post drivers to hand-crafted metal signs.

Students historically gave them away as gifts, until demand exceeded supply.

That's when business students like senior, Charlotte Wadderlow, came running.

"We decided we want to start a business," she explained. "You can do virtual business, and you can work with businesses, but running a business, making a profit, and seeing what to do with that money is something that you don't get anywhere else."

Nearly 50 students now aid in processing orders, manufacturing, customer support, and balancing books.

Raw materials and production cost around $6 to make, and the signs are sold depending on their size and design. Most are in the ballpark of $16.

The money goes back into the program to in hopes the next year of future tradesmen an carry the torch. 

"I don't necessarily think that  a kids choosing to work with their hands is dying breed. There are still a lot of people that are coming up," said Garrett Krtek.

"It's going to put them that much further ahead for whenever they look for employment, just because they have that real life experience. Getting to work with people and customers and building that relationship is really going to help them," said Mrs. Brown.

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