St. John-Hudson High School students have enrolled in classes that will lead to opening and operating a real pizza business in St. John.

Students at St. John-Hudson High School found a new line item on the class schedule when they enrolled Tuesday and it probably made them hungry to enroll.

The USD 350 is working with Lucille Hall Museum to create classes on operating a pizza restaurant then actually running and operating a real pizza place in St. John.

Josh Meyer, USD 350 superintendent, said Principal Travis Olive would be seeking students during enrollment to take part in the classes involved with the project. Tara Kinnamon, business and computer teacher and Susan Patterson, Family and Consumer Sciences teacher will both be working with students to develop the business plan and learn how to operate a food business including coming up with recipes.

Poppy's Pizza closed a year ago in St. John. The Lucille Hall Museum owns the building that is next door to the museum where the business was located. When Poppy's closed, the Museum Board of Directors decided to hire a manager and get the school involved with business, advertising, meal planning and all aspects of running a business, said Tony Delp, Museum Board member.

The Museum is committed to making this project a success. They are painting, putting in new carpet, ovens and preparation tables to make the business a success, Delp said.

"The Museum Board came up with the idea. They thought is was a good way to help the community and the kids," Delp said.

As a further incentive, an anonymous individual has promised matching funds for the project.

The Museum has had great cooperation from the school district, the food service and from teachers willing to teach the classes.

On the educational side of the project, the district committed to the Museum Board the week of Aug. 1-5. Students will have to learn how to balance the books, how to obtain start up capital and all the ins and outs of starting and operating a successful business including food safety and even coming up with recipes for pizza, Meyer said.

There are a lot of unknowns going into this project so it will be a learn as they go project. The museum will hire a manager and other employees but there will be students working in the business, probably during class hours associated with the project and after school as well.

We're in the initial stages. We don't know if it will work," Meyer said. "But, we're excited to give our kids some real work experience. It will also get another restaurant in town that will be another asset for the community."

The project is in initial stages and its unknown if the project will even work but the opportunity is too good to pass up.

"There's a lot up in the air but I feel confident we can get this going," Meyer said.

The district has been talking with the school food service director about working with the school cafeteria about possibly providing pizza as a substitute entree.

To get things started, the district took to social media and put the word out about a taking classes and running a pizza place. Hopefully that will get interest in the program.

What ever happens, students and teachers will all learn a lot. If everything works as planned, a new pizza place could be up and running around Christmas time, Meyer said.

The Museum has lots of positive feedback about the project. They are anxious for this to be a successful business and eventually provide enough income to provide a scholarship for a student.

A meeting is planned with local business owners to share their expertise with the students.

"It will provide some practical feedback for the business," Delp said.

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