MacArthur High School in the Irving Independent School District is getting ready to break ground on a School of Business and Entrepreneurship.
The addition will expand a program that is giving high school students a step up the business ladder.
"I get the satisfaction of seeing the future in my classroom," said Kelley Watson, who leads the Incubator 2 program. The class teaches advanced business students how to start a business — from plan, to pitch, to funding, to launch.
"They're equipped just like someone who's in an MBA program. It's the same thing," Watson said of her students. "So the age doesn't matter. It's the heart and the attitude behind it."
Age is the only number in the business program that doesn't count.
"Oh, you're too young to want to change the world," Angelique Francis, a high school senior, said, and she's heard it before. "My advice is don't judge a book by its cover."
Students' business concepts vary, from utilitarian to altruistic.
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"I went through suicide and depression as a young teen, and working out and building my body was my distraction," explained Francis, who started ALF, Active Life Fitness, a fitness and clothing-for-a-cause business. "I was just so driven."
For Daniel Soto, his Critical Thinkers backpack extension was born out of necessity.
"A lot of times I have extra cleats to bring to school and my backpack was too full," explained Soto. "I want to come up with more ideas, more products, that I can put out there and people can use."
When students in the program graduate from the Business and Entrepreneurship program, they don't just have a high school degree, they have a licensed business as well.
"They can be the next Bill Gates. They can be the next Oprah Winfrey," said Watson. "Or, the next Daniel Soto!"