Our Lady of the Lake School will once again host its popular TREP$ Marketplace on Friday, May 10 from 2:45 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.  in the school’s auditorium.  Guests of the TREP$ Marketplace will be treated to more than two dozen student-run businesses, where they can purchase food items such as empanadas and chocolate-dipped apples, as well as non-food wares like tattoos, paintings, wood signs, and decorative mugs.

Mrs. Catherine Baldwin, a first-grade teacher who leads the TREP$ program, is excited to bring TREP$ to OLL, where the students will experience the real-life world of business and all it entails, from researching and developing their own product ideas to selling them at the Marketplace.

“We know that this is a unique experience for them, different from the other programs offered at school,” said Mrs. Baldwin.  “TREP$ is creative, empowering, and money-making. The kids love that! I have found that when you allow them to make their own decisions regarding their business, the results can be amazing. They take ownership, realizing that the success of their business depends upon how much they put into it. This program allows all kids to shine.”

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To prepare for the Marketplace, students participated in five workshops – product development, pricing, marketing, ad creation, and sales. Guest speakers and field trips rounded out the workshops, and the students learned about how entrepreneurs thrive in their own community.

By participating in TREP$, students learned about researching product ideas, creating prototypes, implementing market research, composing advertisements, and writing sales pitches. Each student presented their business idea to several focus groups comprised of teachers, parents, and other members of the school community. During these presentations, the students were given constructive feedback about their businesses.

“As the program director, I have the privilege of seeing my TREP$ students grow and mature in so many ways from the beginning of the program to the end and from one year to the next. The transformation is remarkable,” said Mrs. Baldwin.

The students who participate in TREP$ look forward to the program every year and gain valuable insight into the business world. 

"While participating in the TREP$ program, I have learned useful tips and tricks to start a successful business. I was taught how to be a good money manager, and how to promote myself well to customers,” said 7th grader Ky-Ann W.  "My favorite aspect of the TREP$ program is that we do group challenges about every new thing we learn each week. I like doing the challenges because it gets me to understand what we are learning about. Also, the group challenges give us a fun way to get used to presenting our products in front of people."

“My favorite part of the program was the day of the marketplace,” said 8th grader Bobby D.  “The idea, planning, and the execution all helped me learn how to manage and work a business.”

Sponsored by Esposito’s, the event opens with an official ribbon-cutting ceremony at 2:45 p.m. and runs until 7:00 p.m. The students take cash only.