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The Hive Student-Led Business Launches at CHS

            A variety of products with a Yellow Jacket theme can be found in The Hive, a student-led business now operating at Cleburne High School.

The buzz coming out of The Hive is being generated by students in the Work-Based Learning Program. From creating to production, sales and inventory control, students are engaged in marketable skills they can put to work following graduation.

 A $10,000 grant award from the Texas A & M Center on Disability and Development was a major force in the launch of The Hive. The grant funded the purchase of two Cricut machines, two heat presses and a sublimation printer, allowing students to produce a variety of items—from imprinted t-shirts and phone covers to coffee mugs and home decor.


               Students and staff at CHS had their first glimpse of The Hive product line, which also includes jewelry, at an on-campus pop up shop, which will take place every six weeks. In addition to themes and colors centered on the Jackets and black and gold, many of the items can be personalized by The Hive, which involves 35 students. An electronic catalog has also been created, showcasing items available through online ordering.


"Our students have been learning how to operate the equipment and are collaborating with their peers in art and animation classes in creating designs," CHS Transition Specialist Monica Culwell said. "This has also given students in other programs the opportunity to be involved in the process. Our construction trades students cut out the wooden circles we use for the door signs and Christmas ornaments that are sold through The Hive. We are also pairing our kids with fellow students in building their customer service, communications and financial skills.”


“They had a great time showcasing all the things they made--and making sales—at our first pop-up shop,” Culwell said. "This has been very exciting for our students and gives us the opportunity to teach pre-employment skills.”


The CHS students have also been developing and expanding their workplace skills through their new Teacher Room Service snack delivery project. High school staff send a Google form to The Hive via email to order beverages and snacks. 


“When the order is received, our students put the requested items together, then make the delivery,” Culwell said. “They can receive payment on the spot—or can create an invoice. Our students are also engaged in the invoicing process, in addition to stocking the snacks and keeping up with inventory.”

Elisabeth Gibbs, life skills teacher and business advisor for The Hive, says these new opportunities for students have had a positive impact on her role as an educator.

“Working with our students through these new projects has helped me be a better teacher,” Gibbs said. “I can teach our kids vocational skills in a vocational setting, where they are producing a product. The skills they are learning can be taken to a lot of different places.”

“I think this is fun for them, as they can see the results of what they have learned--and the work they have done--when the product is created,” Gibbs said. “The best part comes when they see the emotion from the person who makes the purchase.”

Culwell and Gibbs have just landed additional funding for The Hive through a $500 Cleburne Education Foundation mini-grant award for the purchase of a four-station screen printing machine and supplies.

"Our students are gaining so much valuable experience through these projects," Culwell said. "They are also building self-confidence—while having a whole lot of fun."