Mountain High breaks down barriers with team project kickoff event

Rather than start the year with disclosures and class rules, Mountain High started their year with a Quick Start, an entrepreneurial group project. This year's quick start was called the Snack Shack, challenging each group to create the best snack.

"The purpose of Quick Start is to get kids connected with school, with staff and our resources, and get them excited about coming back to school," Principal Greg Wutrich said.

Snack Shack is a group project where students spend five days working in teams to create a snack and a station to sell it. They are responsible for making the product, creating a marketing plan around it, and finally presenting their snack shack at a competition on the final day.

During the first five days of Quick Start, the students move from class to class with their team to learn about Mountain High, meet administration and counselors and review typical school material for half of their day. The other half of their classes, however, focus on their snack shack challenge. The students learn about financing, securing start up cash, creating sales pitches and developing a marketing plan.

"We do quick start because most of our students come to our school from other schools, and they are nervous, they don't know anyone and may have heard stereotypes about our school, so students are apprehensive to come here and are unsure," said social studies teacher and Quick Start leader Tommee Call.

On the day of the Snack Shack challenge, student teams set up their Snack Shacks, testing the popularity of each teams’ snacks. Gathered in the cafeteria, 200 students sample the products, get to know their peers and, ultimately, vote for their favorite snack shack.

At the end of the activity, the winning team was the group behind Frost Fuel, an icy energy drink concoction. Although Snack Shack only awards one champion team, many appreciated the opportunity to meet new people and flex their entrepreneurial muscles.