Zionsville Community High School senior Will Hobick loves the hands-on experience of running a business during school hours.
“The ZCHS 4th Line gives students real-life business experience, contacting businesses, negotiating prices., calculating profit, etc.,’’ Hobick said. ‘’This program not only gives current high school students another option for lunch, but it also provides the entrepreneurship students a chance to learn outside of a textbook. Through participating in 4th Line, I’ve learned that no matter how much you plan and how many past trends you look at, you can never truly guess how each 4th Line might go.”
Each Thursday for nine weeks the entrepreneurship classes run a cafeteria line offering food from restaurants such as Zaxby’s, Roselli’s, Greek’s Pizzeria and Chick-fil-A. This school year’s final session ends March 22.
“We did nine weeks this year because we had so many entrepreneurship students,’’ said Johnathan Grismore, who teaches the entrepreneurship classes.
Eighty entrepreneurship students were divided into nine teams. The 4th Line, which refers to a cafeteria line, began in 2008.
“You want to give the kids the experience of running a business, and this is our way of doing that,” Grismore said.
Profits from the 4th Line each year benefit a scholarship program for entrepreneurship students. Each year, seniors can apply for a $500 scholarship.
“We’ve given out over $20,000 in the (previous) three years I have been here.” said Grismore, who is in his fourth year teaching the classes.
“I think a lot of people don’t realize how many things go into running a business in general,’’ Hobick said. ‘’Even with 4th Line being a relatively small operation, it still takes a large amount of work finding wholesale items, calculating prices and planning everything ahead of time. The experience I was given showed me that you really need to be prepared and your plan needs to be well thought out for everything to be successful.’’
Senior Emma Bellefuil said the program helped her learn about the restaurant business.
“The main benefits of running 4th Line is getting the feel of one day owning my own business,” Bellefuil said. “You really get to take charge, and it’s exciting to see whether or not you’ll make a profit. The most important thing that I’ve learned is how to properly market and advertise my 4th line.”