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Owen Valley High School Launches New Student-Run Manufacturing Business

Members of Owen Valley's Patriot Manufacturing program.

Members of Owen Valley's Patriot Manufacturing program. Students work with equipment for laser engraving, screen printing, embroidering and more. (Seth Tackett, WFIU/WTIU News)

Owen Valley High school students are learning how to own and operate a business as a part of their school days.

Regional Opportunity Initiatives (ROI) awarded a $500,000 grant to Spencer-Owen Community Schools to support their planned initiative to approach hands-on learning, articulate career awareness and to create Patriot Manufacturing, a student-run business.

Although this isn't Owen Valley's first student-run program, it's the first year for Patriot Manufacturing and invested $100,000 of the grant to make it possible.

The process of training, learning and preparing took an entire year, but the enterprise offically launched in early January.

Students work with equipment for laser engraving, screen printing, embroidering, vinyl cutting, custom printing, heat pressing and more.

Kristen Portteus, one of the three teachers who help facilitate the business, says her favorite part about being involved is watching the students grow and succeed. 

"I think that success is based on how well the students are learning and communicating," she says.

Currently, they have 40 students from English, graphic arts, business, marketing, advanced manufacturing and family & consumer science classes participating in the enterprise.

Owen Valley High School senior Nechole Klee works as office manager for Patriot Manufacturing.

She says the role helps her build people skills and she considers herself a "safety net" for her peers.

"I like to think of myself in that way because I try to make sure I can help wherever I can," Klee says.

Junior Kaleb Dill works as marketing manager for Patriot Manufacturing.  

He says that the experience incorporates real-life skills that students can carry with them throughout their lives.

"I think that this is going to help with like my leadership skills and better time management skills -- I think it’s just going to overall prepare me for college after high school," said Kaleb.

The students sell the products in their school’s spirit shop for other students and faculty members to purchase.

As the business grows, they hope to advance their skills to meet their customers' wants.

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