SHS students take marketing into their own hands

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Photo by Forrest DeBolt

Juniors Manuel Moneira and Chris Giorgis present their check with the profits they earned to a few members of the hospital board.

Young entrepreneurs Manuel Moreira and Chris Giorgis applied their classroom marketing skills to a business project to consumers outside the school. The two partners decided to begin their own breast cancer awareness commerce when Moneira’s idea wasn’t used for the Sheridan High School’s Business Marketing “awareness” class shirts.

Moreira participated in both the school’s marketing sales and his own, but he “didn’t feel the school shirts would get the most sales from the student body.”

“We wanted to sell to more than the school. Without a bronc head on the shirt, it is applicable to more than just our pink bronc day and more for the whole month of October,” said Giorgis.

The shirts they designed were black, with two hand graphics over the chest area and “‘Support’ The Cause” in pink. However, school officials, including Business Marketing teacher Kathleen Pilch and Principal Dirlene Wheeler, were concerned over both the manner in which the boys sold the shirts and the design of the shirts. “We have a school board policy against soliciting in order to protect our students from distractions, which they violated by conducting sales at school,” said Wheeler.

Furthermore, Wheeler expressed disapproval over the suggestive positioning of the hands. “I find it derogatory towards females,” she said. Students were told the shirts would be prohibited at school and students wearing the shirts at school were asked to remove or cover them.

Some students felt the rule was unreasonable. “We should’ve been allowed to wear them when in previous years girls would make their own homemade shirts for pink bronc day with paint handprints in the same place…I don’t see how now it’s any different,” said Senior Kholin Harman.

Other students such as Junior Trace Addlesberger see the other side of the coin: “We sign our rights over to the school when we sign the student planner, so if the school deems it inappropriate we just have to go along with it.”

“The student body, and even some teachers realize I was using what I learned in a classroom in the real world. The majority [who bought his shirts] are here to support the cause,” said Moreira. “They’ve [the school] had a monopoly this whole time, now they have competition and don’t know how to react.” The partners also enjoyed the business aspect of their project. “I like the marketing part a lot. It’s interesting to me and I could definitely do it again,” said Giorgis.

The boys began their marketing with the intention of donating 10% of the proceeds to the Welch Cancer Center. Later in the week, the boys reconsidered and announced their decision to donate all of the proceeds to the charity. This decision was announced at the high school football game against Gillette on Friday, Sept. 28.