Learning the value of money

Students at Bishop Larkin Catholic School sell art and snacks to learn about commerce and help pay for construction of an enclosed cafeteria.

Published February 28, 2007

PORT RICHEY - You're never too young to learn the value of a good day's work - or in the case of 50 prekindergarten and kindergarten kids - a good half-day's work. After all, there is that afternoon nap to get in.

But bright and early on a Friday morning, a long bouncy trail of pint-size entrepreneurs proved they were more than eager to put their nose to the grindstone, as they skipped down the short path from their classroom at Bishop Larkin Catholic School to the parish hall at St. James the Apostle Catholic Church next door.

Soon they would be cashing in on their hard work and the good learning they'd been doing about money and commerce these last eight weeks or so.

Then, on top of that, there was the all-important lesson about good deeds. All the money they earned would be put toward the construction of an enclosed cafeteria area for the school that many could enjoy.

Behind the doors of the parish hall there were cookies and lemonade and colorful children's artwork, too.

The students took their place standing shoulder to shoulder behind long tables to sell their wares to some equally eager elder folk who had gathered at the entrance doors.

There were some good bargains to be had with each item fetching a mere 50 cents.

"Art on Demand" artists such as James Worthington, 5, took great care in drawing colorful butterflies, flowers and the like for customers lining up to put in their requests.

Cookie sellers Kailee Graham, Madelyn Hutter, Thomas Feminella, Alvin Joseph and Von Overbeck handed out sandwich cookies and made change with the help of parent volunteers.

The one-day store is a real hands-on way to culminate a teaching unit on money and commerce, said kindergarten teacher Bernadette Bennett, who coordinated the event with fellow teacher Angelina Genduso. Students had prepared by serving on committees.

"We had a Business Committee, Sales Committee and an Advertising Committee where they made fliers and made announcements at church services and of course, contacted the newspapers."

Alyssa Caruso and Justin Fres, both 6, headed up the Business Committee and had to schedule a meeting with Sister Regina Ozuzu so the students could secure the parish hall for the sale.

"She said that it was okay," said Alyssa, who later greeted customers at the door and helped her grandparents, John and Marge Caruso, do some shopping.

"My granddaughter was so excited about this," said Mrs. Caruso, who purchased some of Alyssa's artwork - a colorful patchwork piece, a self-portrait and watercolor painting.

"These go on the refrigerator," she said with a smile.