Students from Rothenberg Preparatory Academy and Westwood School sold colorful Dream Coasters on Monday, May 22, as part of the schools’ Student Enterprise program, which launched in fall 2016 as part of Cincinnati Public Schools’ Vision 2020 initiative.
In the Student Enterprise program, students learn to “dream big” while gaining the skills and confidence needed to transform ideas into action. Students launched “Dream Coasters” — round pieces of laminated wood to hold drink glasses — during the program’s first year. One set of four coasters is decorated with students’ drawings depicting their dreams for the future, and another set shows student-drawn Cincinnati landmarks such as Fountain Square and Union Terminal.
“For Dream Coasters, [four students] draw their dreams on a coaster,” said Tyler Thomas, a sixth-grader at Rothenberg. “For example, one coaster has ‘football’ and ‘dance’.”
Proceeds earned by Dream Coasters’ sales go into a “Dream Fund” at Rothenberg and Westwood schools, which provides supplies needed to bring students’ ideas to life. Ten percent of the proceeds are donated to local charities selected by the students.
In addition to this sale to employees and visitors at Cincinnati Public Schools’ Education Center, students also have sold the Dream Coasters this spring in pop-up shops in Over-the-Rhine and at school events.
Vision 2020 is Cincinnati Public Schools’ initiative to bring equity, access and opportunities to the district’s neighborhood schools. The Student Enterprise program at Rothenberg and Westwood schools fosters creativity and helps students think like young entrepreneurs.
The program is supported by several community partners who helped launch the Dream Coaster project. Universal Woods Inc. donated the coasters, and other consultants helped by sharing their expertise and vision. Other partners include the University of Cincinnati’s Economic Center, MORTAR, Inc. and Learning Through Art, LLC.