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Verona high schoolers lend marketing hand for fifth-graders’ products

December 19, 2016 GMT

VERONA -- One conversation at a parent-teacher conference has led to the sixth year a Sugar Creek Elementary School class has visited Verona High School to work with students there.

The partnership was hatched by Tammy Makovec, who works in the high school’s business, marketing and information technology department, and JoBeth Kroetz, a fifth-grade teacher at Sugar Creek who had Makovec’s son, Daniel, in her class, about ways they could collaborate. That first year, the grade-schoolers started getting help making videos for the products they create during an economics unit. Sometimes they also make printed promotional materials.

Senior Anna Heinzen and fifth-grader Jena Green Gus work together to create a marketing video for Green Gus’ bookmarks on Dec. 9 at Verona High School. Sugar Creek fifth-graders visited the high school to get help from students in an economics class to create marketing tools for their products created for the Fifth Grade Economics Bazaar.

Last year, when Kroetz taught second grade, her students also came to Makovec’s desktop publishing class for another collaboration.

“These kids get to work with the older kids in their community that they can look up to and they can look forward to doing this in high school, too,” said junior Caleb Bohrer.

The students made videos of products they will sell at the annual Sugar Creek Fifth Grade Economics Bazaar that runs from 8 to 10 a.m. Tuesday in the school gym. All fifth-grade students participate, and the products range from dog toys to key chains and mini chalkboards.

Junior Hanna Houtakker said she saw her role as a “guide” to help fine-tune her fifth-grade partner’s ideas.

“I just kind of help them put it into words,” she said.

Sugar Creek Elementary fifth-grader Adelaide Voss takes a video of Verona High School juniors Jacob Walton, left, and Caleb Bohrer showing off the mini chalkboard Voss created for the Fifth Grade Economics Bazaar. Sugar Creek fifth-graders visited the high school to get help from students in an economics class to create marketing tools for their products.

Fifth-grader Jazmin Alvico said she appreciated the help.

“She’s being creative. She’s helping me and giving me some ideas,” Jazmin said.

Fifth-grader Elliott Lapin, who was getting help marketing his pillows with emoji symbols, said it is the first time he has been at the high school, but the collaboration is just one example of Sugar Creek students visiting the nearby high school.

Kroetz said some of the high school students working with her fifth-graders are former students of hers.

Fifth-grader Alex Cataldo and sophomore Ryan Van Handel talk about how to market Cataldo’s airplane Christmas tree ornament Dec. 9 at Verona High School. Sugar Creek fifth-graders visited the high school to get help from students in an economics class to create marketing tools for their products.

Young adults can be some of the best teachers, and the process can get students to start thinking about high school, she said.

“We were talking about how our schools are physically segregated by age and how can we bridge that gap,” Kroetz said about the start of the partnership.

Makovec said the collaboration with Kroetz’s class gets refined each year.

“It’s just a good opportunity for kids to work together,” she said.