Life skills students enjoy running Plum's student store
Plum eighth-grader Dominic Tarquinio plans to run a pro shop at a golf course sometime after graduation.
He has a head start on what it takes to run a business through working in student store at the high school. “I like the interaction,” said Dominic, 15. “We sell film to the TV class and we sell gym uniforms, hats, shirts, shorts.”
He and 13 other students in the district's life-skills class operate the Mustang Store with direction from teacher Gina Sciulli and three paraprofessionals.
“They organize, fold the clothing, check inventory every month,” Sciulli said. “We're open about two periods a day. The students come down with myself or the paraprofessionals.
“We're open during school lunches. Sometimes adults from the community come in asking for gifts for the holidays or sporting events.”
Sciulli said the students enjoy working and interacting with peers everyday at the store, which sells various Plum apparel items, school supplies and old yearbooks.
Freshman Damon Bracco said he likes to make sure the store is clean and ready for customers. “We've had lots of people come in this store,” said Damon, 16. “We rotate (jobs). I like to get the clothes for people.”
Damon said he wants to start a landscaping business when he gets out of school.
Dominic said the best job in the store is dealing with the money.
Plum's Girls' Leaders Association ran the store last year. GLA community chairperson Marissa Beighley, 17, was involved in that effort.
“It was a neat opportunity to get that life experience and work with other GLA members,” Marissa said. “We got to have a good time, and it was nice to interact with teachers and other students. I know it will be really beneficial to (life-skills students) and I'm happy to see they have that opportunity.” Sciulli said GLA was instrumental in preparing the life-skills students for the various jobs in the store.
“It's definitely been a very smooth transition,” Sciulli said. Sciulli said the district also works with the state Office of Vocational Rehabilitation to provide other job opportunities for the students. This is the second year for life skills, which has students in eighth grade through age 21.
Students last year hosted a Thanksgiving feast for staffers and ran a car wash.
More information about the student store is available online at bit.ly/2r23xTU.
Michael DiVittorio is a Tribune-Review staff writer.