The challenges of providing a great education are a lot like the challenges of great cooking. As teachers, we know the recipes that will lead to academic success, and we know what the menu offers to our student diners, but sometimes the ingredients for each recipe aren’t always what might be expected. Sometimes teachers have to throw away the box, and cook from the heart. And that’s exactly what happened this year at Ford High School in the Quinlan School District.
The teachers and administrators at Ford HS saw the need to provide students with something more than just the basic recipe for success. They saw the need for students to take what they have learned in the classroom and put it into practical application. So on October 1, Ford HS opened their newly constructed school store to provide students with the opportunity to apply their skills.
The store, which is run by vocational students under the direction of Ms. Ashley Walden and Ms. Carrie McMahon, is currently receiving suggestions for a proper name. Items available include basic supplies like pens and notebooks, but the store also features seasonal items like Homecoming Mums, spirit shirts, and Panther sunglasses. Each item featured in the store was selected based on student interest polls, and student suggestions.
“The students who work the store are able to develop their skills in inventory and customer service,” Ms. McMahon said, “but they are also working on scheduling and time management. Skills that will benefit them in any job.”
“So far, we have had great initial response from the students,” Ms. Walden said. “There is always someone at the window asking about available items. The homecoming shirts were a big seller".
“Students really want to work the store. It’s such a great opportunity for them to take the skills they learn in class and use them in a practical setting,” Walden added.
Funding for the school store was the result of a $10,000 grant provided to the district by Brookshire’s Foods. During the 2016-17 school year, Brookshire’s hosted a competition among Metroplex schools with the winner receiving the financial grant. Quinlan ISD students and community members were asked to text the word FORD each day, thereby voting for their school. When the results were tallied, the support of the Ford HS community was enough that a grant check was presented to the district.
“It was very inspiring to see the way the community pulled together towards a common goal that could benefit the students,” Mr. Merkel, principal of FHS, said. “Our students were shown a real life example of what can happen when everyone focuses on the same goal and towards the same result.”
So, in retrospect, that seems to be a perfect recipe for a great education. Everyone who is a part of the education community, students, teachers, parents, and families, working together towards a common purpose with the shared goal of student learning. That’s what’s offered on the menu at Ford High School.
~ Donald Merkel, FHS Principal