MONTVILLE, NJ - About 70 Cedar Hill Elementary students gathered at the school last Saturday, April 25 for the sixth annual Trep$ Marketplace. The event, the culmination of five weekly marketing classes, was the showcase for the students’ wares, created by hand and sold by the students.

The program, called Trep$ because it teaches student entrepreneurs, is available to fourth and fifth graders at the school. Parent volunteers teach the classes after school; the children learn about choosing and developing a product, and financing and running a business.

Fourth-grader Hailey Zuckerman created lunch containers she named Cool Containers. “I wanted to create something different,” she said. “People enjoy food and with my containers, they can design their own container with stickers and markers.  They’re BPA free and dishwasher safe – we tested it!”

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Fifth grader Olivia Waltsak said she and her partner wanted to make smoothies “Because it’s so hot in here every year!” laughed Olivia. “We looked up Hawaiian words on the internet, and our business name became ‘Kula Kala,’ because it means ‘golden dollar!”

Fourth grader Zack Waltsak and his friend Luca Tusche created “Nacho ordinary nachos.”  “We wanted to have Mexican food, because we like chili and cheese,” explained Zack.

“We eat nachos all the time,” added Luca.  “We have homemade chili to put on top – it’s not too spicy though. Every customer gets a free sticker!”

Fifth graders Tyler Rutecki, Jackie Kozell, and Mason Fillie got together to make pet items at their booth.

“We thought about ‘what’s something we all like?’” explained Tyler. 

“We have catnip toys, bird feeders and dog treats,” said Mason.

“I like doing clay, so I made and painted all the animal figurines,” added Jackie.

Fourth graders Justin Martin and Vio Palladino created “water bombs” for their booth. What’s a water bomb, you ask?

“Last year at camp I was playing with a sponge and got it wet,” explains Justin. “Then I tied several sponges together with a rubber band and it held a lot of water.  I experimented with the number of strips of sponge because if I tied too many together, they didn’t fly as well.”

Justin found that seven strips and two rubber bands were the perfect numbers to make a water bomb that flew well, stayed together, and got its “victim” the wettest.  And their Trep$ product was born.

After the students created and named their product, made an advertising poster, figured out how to finance their first batch, and came up with a slogan and prices, they brought them to the marketplace held in the gym at the school for Saturday’s event. There, other students, teachers, and parents could purchase the products, which included whoopee pies, ice cream cone cupcakes, decorate-your-own sugar cookies, homemade candy, Indian food, Lego storage jars, and pretzels. Other wares included jewelry, bead creations, mason jars that could be personalized, t-shirts, and lots of chocolate.

Mark Hovaniak brought his sister and brother-in-law to support his son Joe’s “Minecraft Milkshakes” booth.

“This is a great experience for the kids,” said Hovaniak.

“Joe is a future ‘Shark Tank’ contestant!” joked uncle Bob Stecki.

Cedar Hill Principal Dr. Michael Raj was on-hand for the event, and stated, “This is our sixth year of a great program. It teaches the kids about small business operations.”

Raj purchased creations from several different booths, and told parent-organizer Juan Fernandez, “I’m enjoying one of your daughter Sofia’s crépes.”

“That’s my grandmother’s recipe,” joked Fernandez.