Business academy lets Dauphin County high schoolers run store, ‘major’ in business

HALIFAX, Pa. (WHTM) – Running a business is hard work.

Students at a Dauphin County high school are getting a glimpse at what goes into it, and what their futures might look like.

At noon Friday, The Den opened for business.

“It’s definitely a better alternative to normal class,” senior Mason Erdman said.

He works at the student-run store just off the basketball court at Halifax High School.

“We’re open every day, whether it’s from 12-1 or 2-2:30,” he said.

Erdman and his classmates do it all, from working the register and organizing shelves to choosing and ordering merchandise, what Erdman calls the “back-end.”

“We have our vintage apparel,” senior Brianna Turner explained, “which we have for basketball games. They’re old jerseys which were all donated to us.”

For Mason, it opened a door.

“Taking classes here at Halifax is what got me into business,” he said. “I took my first accounting class and that’s what led me into the next class and so on.”

Amy Howard teaches those classes. This is the first year she’s had a business academy at the school — essentially letting juniors and seniors major in business.

“They’re kind of the guinea pigs of the program,” she said of her students this year.

These kinds of classes are becoming more common in high schools as a way to encourage kids to find and follow their passions early. And in a place like Halifax, a growing, business-minded workforce may even drive much-needed development.

“In a perfect world,” Dave Black, president and CEO of the Harrisburg Regional Chamber and CREDC, said, “maybe one out of five, two out of five come back and try something in the Halifax area. That’s a win.”

Erdman likely won’t be that one, but he’ll be part of the workforce upper Dauphin County needs until he heads to college.

“I’m definitely going into business,” he said, “but I’m keeping my options open.”

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