Expo gives students business experience

Monica Sanchez was nervous about cold-calling businesses in hopes of getting them to participate in a marketing expo today at Pasco High School.

But the 14-year-old freshman did it anyway and got McDonald's restaurant to agree to show up.

Sanchez will be acting as an emissary for the restaurant during today's event, which is aimed at bolstering students' marketing skills and giving them hands-on experience. The teen will hand out coupons for McDonald's, answer questions from the public and talk up the scholarships the restaurant gives out.

"It's a great experience. I'll get better at my marketing skills," Sanchez said.

At least 22 other area businesses -- from salons to a karate studio -- also are participating in the expo, a project of Pasco High's introduction to marketing classes. Kim Schneider and Andrew Callaway teach the classes at the school.

This is the first year of the expo.

"Hopefully, we're successful so we can try it again next year and make it even bigger," Schneider said.

Students were tasked with contacting businesses and inviting them to participate in the event. They had to write a formal letter and figure out ways to market the company. Some students worked on their own and others teamed up.

Sierra Connolly, 15, a freshman, helped recruit Tyson Foods and the Mary Kay cosmetics company to the event.

She said she's been learning a lot in the marketing class, including about future career goals.

"I think that taking this class will give me a better idea of whether I want to have my own business," she said.

Community members are invited to peruse the exhibits at the expo and help students by asking questions and listening to their pitches, Schneider said.

The event is from 5 to 7 p.m. in the student mall at Pasco High, 1108 N. 10th Ave.