tampabay.com

Because pirates need gear, too

By PAULETTE LASH RITCHIE
Published February 15, 2007


CRYSTAL RIVER - Scallywags is the place to go for Crystal River High School students in need of school supplies, shirts, shorts or other Pirates paraphernalia. Oh, and they don't have to go far. The store is right on campus.

It is run by students and overseen by business teachers Jan Richardson and Laura Wingate. Wingate was instrumental in starting Scallywags a couple of years ago, securing the grants to get it going. It is currently run by Richardson's students.

Wingate, 42, teaches Business Systems and Technology, Digital Design I and II and Accounting I and II.

Richardson, 46, teaches Business Systems and Technology, Legal Aspects of Business and Business and Entrepreneurship. The students running the store come from the last two classes.

Scallywags' manager is 18-year-old senior Quincy Wilson. She says the store is a good idea, "because you need your Pirate gear. This is pretty much where you get it."

There is a lot of Pirates stuff available. Besides shirts and shorts, students and staff can find caps, pennants, spirit beads, lanyards, pompoms, pins, wristbands, purses, bandanas, ties, foam fingers, sweatshirts and Pirates teddy bears.

In a recent promotion, the store sold bottles of Strawberry Crush soda to be delivered on Valentine's Day. The sale was advertised with "Give your Valentine something to crush about."

The store has a professional look with glass display cases, shelves and slat board walls that can hold hooks to hang shirts and other merchandise. A display case by the register holds markers, index cards, pencils, pens, batteries and rulers, among other things.

There is an impressive list of lessons for the store-running students, the teachers explained. They experience salesmanship, using the cash register, brainstorming, market research, ordering, purchasing, pricing, distribution and advertising.

The students seem to recognize how the project benefits them. "I'm getting skills, learning to run a business," said 16-year-old sophomore Ben Pazian. "I'm planning to be an entrepreneur, starting my own business, in music, maybe."

Quincy isn't sure how she will use her high school business skills after graduation, but says, "Business is good to have, because a lot of stuff you go into involves business."

Quincy plans to attend Florida Atlantic University on a softball scholarship to study criminal justice and perhaps minor in business.

The store means more to the school than a place to buy things. It is a source of goodwill within Crystal River High School. The school has an ongoing fund, explained principal Patrick Simon that, while emphasized during the holidays, is available throughout the year to students or even staff who find themselves in difficult situations.

They can be given gift certificates to use in the store for clothes.

"So the school store becomes an in-house way to service our kids," Simon said.

Store gift certificates are also awarded to students in a couple of other programs. Students are awarded $25 certificates for meeting certain FCAT requirements, such as being among the highest scorers, making the greatest gains or scoring at or above grade level.

A way to win a $10 certificate is to say something using the school's weekly root word. If a teacher notices a student using a word containing it, he or she puts the student's name in with those identified by other teachers. Simon pulls a name a week for the award.

The store, Simon said "has surprised us in many ways between service and learning."