Elementary school teacher Kirsten Bourke enjoyed watching students focus on bettering the planet while showcasing their wares at the recent West Mercer Market Place.
With students excited to display what they created and eager to see what their peers brought to the table, the doors to the West Mercer gym swung open to reveal products and services like inventive new games, handmade jewelry, art pieces, soaps, clothing, dog treats and more.
On the philanthropic front, students from three West Mercer classes raised more than $1,400 for the nonprofit The Ocean Cleanup Project while learning about economics as they competitively priced their products. Their creativity further flowed when they constructed eye-catching displays and advertisements to spotlight their products and attract customers.
After a two-year absence due to the pandemic, the popular West Mercer Market Place made a triumphant return to the school. Bourke and fellow instructors Sherry Isaacs and David Baxter helped bring the event back to life.
In selecting their charity to support, students first brought to the forefront some topics of importance to them like hunger, homelessness, animals and the environment.
“Students then used Charity Navigator and other resources to investigate organizations that supported one of these topics and evaluated the organization based on how much money actually goes towards the cause,” said Baxter, adding that students ultimately chose The Ocean Cleanup Project after they researched copious topics and created presentations to help persuade other students to vote for their topic.
The Ocean Cleanup Project is focused on removing debris from the sea through cleanup dives and educating fishermen and youth about the impact of ocean pollution, according to its site.
“It is wonderful to be able to provide this learning opportunity to our students once again. Market Place is where creativity meets innovation and it is inspiring to see how each student pursues their own passion while gaining entrepreneurial skills and experience,” Isaacs said.
Added student Arianna Zhao: “Market Place is important to me because it allows me to use my creative mind with other kids my age. It also gives me a chance to think about pricing and marketing. In addition, I can see other’s ideas on the day of Market Place and learn a lesson.”