Aug 12th, 2013
LAKE WALES – A local coalition of business, civic and ministry leaders donated $10,000 to Lake Wales High School on Monday (Aug. 12) to help launch an accredited class for young entrepreneurs.
The donation was made in front of about 100 LHWS teachers, administrators and support staff during a morning-long orientation on teachers’ first official day back at school.
The young entrepreneurs class will use an educational curriculum designed to equip students to begin solid, successful businesses that would provide them with good careers – a vision supported by the Business, Civic, and Ministry Coalition of Lake Wales.
“We are thrilled to be able to provide these funds,” said Jack Hilligoss, pastor of HighPoint Church and director of School and Recreation Initiatives for the Coalition.
“The Business, Civic, and Ministry Coalition came into being because several pastors who pray weekly at Capernaum Inn and many Christian community leaders have a vision to be a blessing to our community and see Lake Wales become a model city for the rest of the state and even the nation. We believe that our Charter Schools are critical to that vision and the churches of this city want to help them do their job well,” Hilligoss said.
While the new Entrepreneurship Class is open to any student in grades 11-12, one of the primary goals is to create a productive career path for students less inclined to pursue college. The school and Coalition will work to identify students who may struggle with traditional classes, and help them learn the skills of creating a business and a career in other legitimate ways.
The Coalition’s partnership with the Lake Wales High School will not end with this donation.
“Our desire is that this class be more than a one-year phenomenon. We recognize for that to be true, other supportive elements must be put in place,” said Pastor Scott Markley of First Baptist Church of Lake Wales. “We will continue to partner with our High School if they request us to provide those elements. We don’t want to instill hope through curriculum that is not backed up with real, solid opportunities for the students.”
Those “supportive elements” include recruiting local business leaders to come into the class as guest lecturers, partnering students with successful entrepreneurs who will coach them through the process of business start-up and operation, and providing the students with adult mentors who will guide and help.
“The mentoring piece is critical. If we want our students to invest deeply into our community, we have to invest deeply and personally into them,” said Greater St. Thomas Pastor Roscoe Williams.
The class will launch this fall with teacher Bill Lockhart, who sees it as the first step to much bigger things.
At a recent meeting, he predicted the day when Lake Wales businesses will be training their next generation of leaders from interns out of this class. He said he expects Lake Wales to be populated by small businesses created from a business incubator filled with energetic students.
“Lake Wales High School is so grateful that the leaders of our faith community have such a desire to help us realize our dream,” said Principal Donna Dunson. “We are thankful for this infusion of goodness.”
PHOTO: Presenting LWHS Principal Donna Dunson (center) with a ceremonial check for $10,000 are (l-r) Business, Civic, and Ministry Coalition members Scott Markley, Jack Hilligoss, John Kimbrough and Kevin Respress.