Obishikokaang Elementary School introduces student run thrift store
Reeti Meenakshi Rohilla - Staff Writer
Lac Seul First Nation’s Obishikokaang Elementary School has started the preliminary process of introducing a student run thrift store, serving as a learning tool for students along with offering the community a place to purchase gently used goods.
Obishikokaang Elementary School’s Principal, Kristin Ward shared, “We are very excited about this project, and hope that it not only benefits our students, but also all of the community of Lac Seul. We hope that running our own thrift store will bring a sense of pride for our students, as well as their families and the community.”
The school anticipates having the store up and running by the end of September. The store will be running the entire school year, with plans to continue it every school year, shared Ward. She explained that during the store’s operational hours, school day afternoons, students would take turns to participate in the sales portion of the store, while also being a part of sorting, cleaning, pricing, and all other aspects of the store.
Ward shared, “When school begins next week, our students will be involved in naming the store, creating a logo, create marketing materials, and organize a grand opening to happen towards the end of September.”
Ward shared that this activity will encourage students to develop entrepreneurship skills and entrepreneurial mindsets like creativity, problem solving, embracing failure, resourcefulness, persistence and grit, optimism, and adaptability, along with marketing skills, math skills, as well as all of the skills needed to work in a retail store. She added, “We have plans to incorporate this learning into all aspects of the curriculum (language, math, science, etc.). We hope that students will also be able to make other items to sell, and come up with their own ideas.”
Ward shared that with this year’s entrepreneurship curriculum, the students will be provided with everything that is required to run a store. She shared, “The building for our thrift store can be found in the parking lot of our school and has been set up with commercial shelving and racks; a point-of-sale system.” Ward shard that this is a new building assigned specifically for the thrift store, and is equipped with heaters for the winter and solar panels to generate electricity.
Ward shared, “One of the pillars of the School Board Improvement Plan in Lac Seul is Entrepreneurship and Life Skills. Over the last couple of years our students have been involved in running a beef jerky business, and have held craft fairs, but we have been looking for ways to incorporate these skills into the everyday learning within our school. This school year we are implementing an entrepreneurship curriculum that all classes will participate in.”
The school collected donations of housewares, toys, clothing, and other gently used small items from Frenchman’s Head and Sioux Lookout last weekend. They will continue to collect donations throughout the school year. Ward shared that people could also drop off donations at the school during school hours, or contact them to arrange for a pick-up through their Obishikokaang Elementary School Facebook page, which could also be referred to for further updates.