Crest Academy’s back in business

Crest Academy student Porter Post sews a neck gaiter for his business HeatKeep Neck Gaiters. The gaiters, inspired by Porter’s skiing experiences, are made with reused materials and are available as part of the Powered by the Mountains box from Crest Academy’s “Cretsy” online market.

The kids at Crest Academy are back in business.

One of the mainstays at Crest Academy, Salida School District’s alternative middle school, has been its project-based financial literacy program, which usually culminates in an in-person Market Night.

Under normal circumstances, friends, family and the public are invited to the school to browse the wares offered by the young entrepreneurs.

Last spring the event was cancelled by the COVID-19 stay at home order.

While the virus lingers this spring, staff and students have devised an online option which still allows students to create and sell their products without in-person contact with their would-be customers.

Crest students have created a variety of products which will be sold in themed boxes. Each product is the result of each student’s company, but students had to work together to combine their products and market the result.

The boxes ranged in price from $27 to $43 and each features the work of four students.

Seventh-grader Chloe Kelley’s wire wrapped agate rings are made with discarded wire for her company Wire and Stone. The rings are included in the Amor Accessories box which includes jewelry and hair accessories created by three other students.

Soy wax candles in repurposed cut glass-bottles are the product of eighth-grader Izzy Hughes’ Jade Flame Candles business.

The candles are included in the Radically Recycled product box with recycled paper plant pots, plastic stencils and drink coasters made from used climbing ropes.

All student projects are at least in part made with recycled, repurposed or sustainable materials.

The marketplace gives students experience in marketing and keeping track of finances. This year the expenses also include calculating shipping costs for those outside the students’ delivery zone.

Fortunately, the expense of shipping has been offset with a $500 donation from High Country Bank so the entrepreneurs can keep more of their income.

Other community sponsors have helped the Crest students with their endeavors by serving as “sharks”  to provide feedback on the products students created. The concept came from the ABC television show “Shark Tank” in which entrepreneurs pitch their ideas to experts. The Crest Academy sharks include locals involved with retail business and marketing.

Chloe and Izzy both said the online marketplace model was challenging with having to work with partners on the finished boxes because they weren’t used to working with partners on the project and had to do their finances differently.

The money the students earn from the online marketplace, named “Cretsy,” a play on the Etsy website that features many small craft businesses, goes into each student’s Crest bank account toward their eighth-grader trip, traditionally taken at the end of the year. This year’s eighth graders are hopefully headed to Key West, Florida.

Log on to for more information about the Crest Academy “Cretsy” online store and its young entrepreneurs.

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