Apprentice Day promotes business, charity at Forest Lake Christian School |

Apprentice Day promotes business, charity at Forest Lake Christian School

Students gather to collaborate and compete at the 15th annual Apprentice Day at Forest Lake Christian School.
Sam Corey/

About 15 years ago, an idea struck Travis Smith.

The current principal for Forest Lake Christian’s middle school — and the school’s high school bible teacher — was trying to figure out how to engage checked-out high school seniors in his former economics class. Smith perused the textbook, and it all appeared dull.

After watching an episode of The Apprentice, he became inspired to have students create their own food businesses and sell their products. And thus, Apprentice Day at Forest Lake Christian School was born.

On Friday, the legacy was celebrated again. Seniors collaborated to compete and see who could earn the most revenue for their food products. Held at the school’s gymnasium,the event included 10 different teams and a wide variety of foods.

Dumplings, waffles, pizzas and more were sold from ornately decorated booths with titles like, “Ride or Die-ners.” The gymnasium was organized chaos, with students scrambling around, announcing special deals, trying to earn every last penny for their food before time elapsed.

“It was an economics project to teach them all the steps to run a business, and be able to serve people,” said Smith.

From top to bottom, students have to construct a business, create a booth and sell food. The group to earn the most money wins, and all the proceeds goes to a collectively chosen charity.

Breezy Adams, a senior at the school, created “La Pizzeria di Famiglia” with her group. Her group contacted a local pizzeria to get donations to create pizzas by hand. Adams was excited not just to collaborate with her friends, but to also give something to others who need it.

“I like that it’s not just for Forest Lake,” said Adams. “I like that we’re giving it to people.”

This year, the studnents raised $5,8000 that will go to Compassion International, a charity that sponsors children to get things like medical care, food, bible study and aid to stay in school.

Another group, Schmitty’s Quesadillas, sold food while memorializing their booth after a close friend who committed suicide last summer. Nich Chalko, a senior at Forest Lake Christian School and a member of the team, worked hard to construct their booth, which included donated wood, wire-strung lights and small chalkboard menus.

A Challenging Task

Apprentice Day is a much anticipated event, but the task — having to somehow attain items to cook food, sell it, and create their own physical booth — can be daunting for seniors.

“When I was in the younger grades, I was like, ‘I can’t wait to do Apprentice Day,’” said Chalko. “But the day I turned a senior I was like, ‘I have to do Apprentice Day, this is going to be stressful.’”

One student group approached a local restaurant to buy french fries, and resell them at the event, Smith explained. When the restaurant owner was told that the students were going to use the food for Apprentice Day, he was ecstatic.

“He’s like, ‘I did Apprentice Day!’ Here, I’ll just donate all the fries,” Smith said.

At the end of the day, students gather to clean up the gymnasium, declare the winner, and announce the amount of money raised, which is printed on a proverbial over-sized check that, this year, read $5,800.

You can contact Sam Corey at (530) 477-4219 or by email at

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