South Orangetown Central School District

Tappan Zee High School Entrepreneurship students are expanding their understanding of running a school-based business. Earlier this month, TZHS introduced Z-Box, a student-managed vending machine–a real world, project-based learning experience.

“Students are gaining hands-on experience running a business and how to be an entrepreneur. They’re learning how to stock, set the prices, how to promote the business with marketing and social media, how to control the finances, and keep track of revenue,” explained Business teacher Darrell Flynn. Students also manage Z-Mart, the high school school store. 

 At the start of each period, students review vending machine inventory, handle the cash and coins in the machine and ensure that the vending machine is operating smoothly overall. 

Senior Clark P. is one of the students managing the machine’s day-to-day operations. “So far, I’ve found that operating the vending machine has been a lot of fun. We make important judgments like whether or not to continue buying a particular product. It’s exciting to see everything come together after we bought the vending machine, designed it and chose all the products we were going to put in it,” she said. “Taking this class and participating in the vending machine’s has given me an inside look at what it takes to run a successful business. Through the Entrepreneurship class, in particular, I learned different aspects of business, including marketing, money management and leadership.”

 The Entrepreneurship class is also collaborating with TZHS COVE students, who check inventory and restock the machine daily. “This is such a great experience for my students because they’re getting hands-on work experience as well as gaining social skills,” said TZHS COVE Teaching Assistant Wendy Stewart.

Z-Box was purchased with contributions from Z-Mart, the TZHS Student Organization and the TZ Red & White Booster Club. Profits from sales will be divided among these groups and used to fund a new grant program for school club, team and teacher/classroom initiatives. Grant applications will be accepted starting in the fall.

Z-Box at TZHS