Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Fivay's award-winning teachers take creative approach to economics, entrepreneurship

Eric J. Johnson and Stefanie Adams use innovative methods to arrive at their common goal — to do as much as they can.

BRENDAN FITTERER | Times

Eric J. Johnson and Stefanie Adams use innovative methods to arrive at their common goal — to do as much as they can.

It all began with two lemonade stands. Then came the state award. Next could come a meeting with a former vice president of the United States.

The Fivay High teaching team of Eric J. Johnson and Stefanie Adams finished the 2012-13 school year by winning first place at the high school level at the 34th Annual Governor's Awards, hosted by the Florida Council on Economic Education. Awarded for the project "Customer Service Has A BIG Impact On small Business," the council recognized Johnson and Adams among "Florida's most outstanding teachers for creativity in presenting lessons in economics, personal finance and entrepreneurship."

According to Johnson, this award is just the beginning.

"We're just scratching the surface," said Johnson, a four-time winner. "It's just going to get bigger and better."

The teachers bring different experiences to their team. Johnson teaches social studies, geography and economics. Adams is a one-time biology instructor who built upon her experience as a professional caterer to become a culinary arts teacher.

Despite their diverse backgrounds, the two found that they had a common objective.

"At the end of the day, we just want to be sure that the kids have learned something," said Johnson. "We're just two teachers trying to do as much as we can."

"I have a favorite old phrase that I often apply to my students," said Adams. "It says, 'Average people have wishes and dreams. Confident people have goals and plans.' "

Seeking to educate students about the possibilities of success in small business, the teachers conceptualized the customer service project by opening two lemonade stands on campus.

While one stand was a basic, unadorned structure selling lemonade, the other was a fully functioning small business; with Adams' students preparing a gourmet lemonade with special flavorings, decorative ice formations and candy garnishes. Johnson's students renovated an eye-catching vehicle, set product pricing and formulated a marketing and advertising plan.

The students found that the professionally planned and marketed stand far outperformed its more traditional counterpart.

Inspired by the success of the project, the teachers hope to make a bigger impact this year with an occasional formal restaurant at Fivay.

Set to be presented on two evenings in the school's atrium, the upscale eatery will be open to the public with individual meal sales and exclusive table sponsorships available.

Adams' culinary students will plan and prepare the menu. Johnson's social studies and economics students will set prices and market and advertise the restaurant. Special-needs students at the school will create centerpieces, which also will serve as fundraisers for the construction of an educational play area for autistic students at the school.

"It seems we just had an 'Aha moment' ," Adams said, "and we're running with it."

Johnson hopes Adams and her students will join his AP human geography class for a planned trip to Costa Rica in January where they will study environmental concepts in the Amazon rain forest and perhaps meet former Vice President Al Gore.

"The one thing that these projects have in common," said Johnson, "is that they open students' minds up to the possibilities."

>>fast facts

How you can help

Many of the projects are being funded by Johnson and Adams; team leaders are in search of business and community sponsorships to offset costs. For more information, call Johnson or Adams at Fivay High School, (727) 246-4000.

Fivay's award-winning teachers take creative approach to economics, entrepreneurship 08/22/13 [Last modified: Friday, August 23, 2013 11:57am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. No toll lanes north of downtown Tampa in three of four interstate proposals

    Transportation

    TAMPA — Express lanes may not be coming to downtown Tampa after all. Or at least not to the stretch of Interstate 275 that goes north through Bearss Avenue.

    Seminole Heights resident Kimberly Overman discusses the new interstate options with V.M. Ybor resident Chris Vela (left), Hillsborough County Commissioner Pat Kemp and HNTB consultant Chloe Coney during a Tampa Bay Express meeting Monday night at the Barrymore Hotel. [CAITLIN JOHNSTON  |  Times]
  2. No lack of issues facing St. Petersburg's six council candidates

    Elections

    ST. PETERSBURG — The six candidates for City Council gathered Monday evening in the very chamber to which they aspire to serve.

    St. Petersburg City Council candidates (from left)  Brandi Gabbard and Barclay Harless in District 2; Jerick Johnston and incumbent council member Darden Rice in District 4; and Justin Bean and Gina Driscoll of District 6. All six candidates appeared at Monday night's forum at City Hall sponsored by the League of Women Voters. [CHERIE DIEZ   |   Times]

  3. Iraq's Kurds vote on independence, raising regional fears

    World

    IRBIL, Iraq — Iraqi Kurds voted Monday in a landmark referendum on supporting independence, a move billed by the Kurdish leadership as an exercise in self-determination but viewed as a hostile act by Iraq's central government. Neighboring Turkey even threatened a military response.

    People celebrate Monday after voting closed in a referendum on independence in Irbil, Iraq.
  4. North Korean diplomat says Trump has 'declared war'

    War

    UNITED NATIONS — North Korea's top diplomat said Monday that President Donald Trump's weekend tweet was a "declaration of war" and North Korea has the right to retaliate by shooting down U.S. bombers, even in international airspace.

    North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho, center, speaks outside the U.N. Plaza Hotel in New York on Monday.
  5. Pinellas grants St. Pete's request to add millions to pier budget

    Local Government

    Times Staff Writer

    The Pinellas County Commission has granted St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman's request to dedicate millions more toward the city's new pier.

    The St. Petersburg City Council on Thursday  voted 7-1 to appropriate $17.6 million for the over-water portion of the Pier District. This is a rendering of what the new Pier District could look like. [Courtesy of St. Petersburg]