Advanced Marketing students are immersed in real life business interactions following the exciting opening of two new stores


In the past, Advanced Marketing teacher Kristen O’Brien kept running into the same small issues with the old-school apparel store and decided to close it, relocate, and restore a certain piece of pride to the halls of FHC that has been missing.

Right before the start of the school year, O’Brien found out that she and her students were allowed to revamp an old classroom into the Ranger Zone, the newfound school apparel store where anybody can be a customer, not just students, and staff.

However, the nook in which the school store was once housed has, too, been repurposed to bring a buzz to the students’ school day. A new option was presented and operated by O’Brien and her students: the Snack Shack.

“It’s a very small location,” O’Brien said, “so the most stressful part about running [the old school store] was that I usually had too many students. Having an extra location adds a little bit more stress because now, I have kids in two different locations, but it provides more opportunities.”

Having a second location is more on her and her students, but the decision still rests in the best interest of everybody as a whole. In Advanced Marketing, students use their learning from Marketing 1 and 2 and apply them now, in high school, to get an introduction to the marketing and business world, and running the Ranger Zone and the Snack Shack are the perfect opportunities for O’Brien’s students to be comfortable with areas of business that are and aren’t covered in the book work.  

What’s different about Advanced Marketing is that it focuses on the interaction between marketing students and a real business being vitally important for their future. The new location of the Ranger Zone is especially important to O’Brien for a few reasons; a few feet across from the front office, the bright and welcoming energy spikes the quiet concentration of the office and scholarly environment, drawing anybody’s attention and attraction to the most Ranger-oriented area on campus.

[Working in] the Snack Shack and running a ‘business,’ it’s also enjoyable.

— Brooke Kushak

“This is the best part of the class, seeing them run the store and take the initiative and ownership,” O’Brien said. “They’re that much more invested in what they’re selling and being a part of the whole experience, the whole process, so it’s really fun to see the kids interacting with their peers and to see a different side of them instead of them [instead of], in a seat in class and interacting through discussions. I actually get to kind of step back and see them in a more authentic [setting and see] their real personalities coming out.”

Advanced Marketing students are immersed in the businesses, as they are the ones in charge of running both stores, marketing products, and designing merchandise for the FHC community. Everybody in the class is in charge of shifts where they take turns being in each store on top of completing regular classwork that accompanies the class while O’Brien oversees the entire operation to make sure business is being handled smoothly.

For senior Brooke Kushak, Advanced Marketing aligns with a possible interest in a career in business and acts as the most resourceful vessel for her field of interest. In college, Brooke wants to major in business and perhaps own one in the future, so being able to run the school stores has been an incredible way for her to start moving forward. 

“I’m majoring in marketing, so this class gives me a good idea of how it’s going to go after high school,” Brooke said. “I really enjoy working in here because again, I think I might want to [major in it], but preparing and finding stuff that you like and designing, that’s fun. [Working in] the Snack Shack and running a ‘business,’ is also enjoyable.”

Another aspect that Advanced Marketing brings is the importance of the overall appearance of what students are marketing. In the Ranger Zone, each type of item is neatly organized and displayed on racks, tables, and in jars by the design and control of Brooke and students alike. Apparel ranges from hoodies, shirts, blankets, visors, and other knick-knacks, exuding the power of the Ranger Green and were the works of Advanced Marketing students, which adds a unique layer of student-body personality. 

The Snack Shack, on the other hand, is a little corner that creates a buzz of sweetness during school hours. Favorites like Dippin’ Dots and slushies are available for purchase, and as the name suggests, it has a moody shack feeling. Between each of the stores, Brooke is learning valuable lessons from working at them.

“Designing some of the products, we have to market them and figure out ways to advertise them, can sometimes get difficult,” Brooke said. “It’s something that I have learned from this semester so far, which will definitely be useful for after college.”

Similar to Brooke, senior Jada Burgin is also deciding her future in marketing. Whether she’s going to minor or major in it, the school store and the class is still important for her to be a part of. When it’s open, Jada thinks it’s a great hangout spot for students with anything and everything being Ranger-related.

“It’s a nice hangout spot,” Jada said. “There are lots of little gadgets that [students] can get, and also, it’s a good place for the parents to come and shop for stuff. There is a lot of Ranger gear for them to [buy and] support at games in general, so I like that it gives more people more school pride.”

After the semesters of marketing, Brooke and Jada both agree that working hard in class and in the not-so-glamorous stages of preparation has, in return, paid off, now that the stores are finally open, running, operating, and prospering.

“I think it’s very rewarding because we did put a lot of time into this before it was set up,” Jada said, “so to see it very successful, it’s a very rewarding feeling, which I like.” 

As the teacher, O’Brien is pleased with how well students are working together to bring these specialties together. So far, the stores are serving their purpose for Advanced Marketing and continuing to flourish, having brought a new taste to the cafeteria with the Snack Shack and much Ranger representation in the Ranger Zone.

“It’s a great opportunity for students—any of the marketing classes [are]—but especially this,” O’Brien said. “This is the big thing why they take the other levels of marketing because they actually get to see all their hard work and all their plans and organizing and whatnot… the school stores are a really cool experience, so if you’re looking to do more of a hands-on-type learning and maybe, potentially look at owning your own business in the future, it’s a great opportunity for students to kind of get those experiences in early.”