By ZEINAB NAJM
DEARBORN — A buzz filled the media center at Fordson High School as students waited receive a $5,000 check from Macy’s Fairlane to go along with a $5,000 donation from Novi High School for a business incubator program.
The class will be implemented next year as part of the school’s curriculum and seniors will have the chance to create and pitch ideas which will be sold at Macy’s in Fairlane Town Center.
In Novi, the full-year business class began last year for over 30 students who applied for a chance to complete the five-step process before their products could be launched.
Quest and On Purpose were the two product lines created by NHS students which were sold in Macy’s 12 Oaks last February and made $36,000. The total included in-kind donations from Macy’s.
Now a University of Michigan freshman, Ryan Heur had the idea for Quest which sold a T-shirt, long sleeve and hooded sweatshirt with an embroidered logo.
“Quest was the name because everyone is on their own personal quest,” Heur said. “The brand was dedicated to giving back to another school in the area so they can start a similar business class. From writing a pitch with three to four other people in a classroom to standing here about to accomplish the goal we set out to do here is really great.”
NHS began the program after Novi Community School District Assistant Supt. of Academic Services Ronald Webber had the idea three to four years ago. During the launch Nov. 20 at FHS, Webber said that the notion the partnership was based on is that ideas are equal and opportunities are not.
“Around the state and around this world people have beautiful, beautiful ideas; however, not everyone has the chance to get these ideas out to create opportunities for themselves,” he said. “The core tenets of public education in my opinion is the fact the very corner stone of our republic is based on a free, high-quality public education.”
FHS Principal Heyam Alcodray said she reached out to meet with Webber to learn about their robotics and business incubator programs.
“I want to start off by thanking Dr. Webber for this opportunity to partner with the Novi Public Schools and Macy’s,” she said. “Our connection with Novi is the perfect example of how the power of partnerships is imperative in transforming teaching and learning for all of our students.
“We knew we needed to provide these opportunities for Fordson students as part of our school’s transformation into the academy’s model. Novi has been very supportive and gracious in their commitment to paying it forward as part of their effort to ensure equality in education and connection with the community.”
FHS juniors Reda Mazeh, Duraid Hanna and Mohammed Bouzeid said they were approached by their economics teacher and were asked if they would be interested in joining the class when it begins in fall 2020.
On Oct. 15, FHS students visited and sat in as NHS students pitched their ideas to Macy’s which Mazeh, Hanna and Bouzeid all said they enjoyed.
“The business incubator class is a good opportunity and will give us experience in the business field while we’re still in high school,” Bouzeid said. “Visiting the pitch session was great to see so we can be prepared for our pitches when the program starts.”
NHS Principal Nicole Carter said she was excited to see the incubator class grow and the starting the partnership with FHS.
“The incubator has been a beacon of light at our school since its hatch last fall,” Carter said. “Our students have been dynamic in fully embracing a new opportunity to enhance their critical thinking, problem solving, collaboration and communications skills. Our teachers have been willing to take calculated risks and build the plane as it’s been forming.
“We are forever grateful for the relationship that has been created between our schools, the most valuable lesson learned from this experience thus far, for our students has been the coordination of large groups and multiple organizations which can be tedious yet so very powerful.”
Macy’s Fairlane Manager Malika Harris watched the incubator experience between NHS and the 12 Oaks store location and was fully on board for a similar partnership with FHS and Macy’s in Dearborn.
“We are very delighted for the opportunity to support and give back to our students locally,” she said. “I am excited to not only represent my store but also Macy’s 12 Oaks and Novi High School as we extend the incubator program to Fordson.”
(Zeinab Najm can be reached at [email protected])