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Hammarskjold students use business skills to give back

Thursday marked the culmination of a couple of months of work for business and foods students at Hammarskjold High School.
Grade 12 student Harold O'Nyeneho showcases the necklaces he was selling with classmates Anshul Gundeti and Sasha Kisselgoff during Hammarskjold High School's market day on Thursday afternoon.

Thursday marked the culmination of a couple of months of work for business and foods classes students at Hammarskjold High School.

Senior students were involved in the school’s annual Market Day, an educational project that allows students to put their entrepreneurial skills into practice while benefiting charitable causes along the way.

“I was super, super excited to do this because when I was in the younger grades, I would see all the Grade 11 and 12 students doing this amazing project, and I thought it would be super fun to dip my toes into it one day,” Grade 12 student Sasha Kisselgoff said.

“It’s been very chaotic today in the halls, but it’s been very fun and I really love this.”

Gino Russo, the business, foods and creative studies chair at Hammarskjold, says it was great to take a step back and watch the staff and students take the lead on the project and sell their goods on Thursday.

“I can see all the students smiling and I can see them critically thinking,” Russo said. “If you stop and watch them work, you’ll hear them saying ‘Oh, we’re out of this product, we better sell that product.’

“It’s so nice to see students who are not only excited about what they are doing, but they are also taking what they have learned from their books and are applying it to real-world scenarios.”

Kisselgoff teamed up with fellow Grade 12 students Harold O’Nyeneho and Anshul Gundeti to run the Intercultural Jewelry stand, which featured pins, bracelets, earrings and rings that were handmade by the trio.

“Our group is made up of immigrants as well as having the son of an immigrant,” Kisselgoff said. “I think it’s very important to foster inclusivity in our space right now, and I think our business is making everybody feel seen and beautiful.”

Funds that were raised during Thursday’s event will go toward local charities, including the Salvation Army, in addition to humanitarian organizations such as Doctors Without Borders and the Palestine Children’s Relief Fund.

“We have a lot of students that have been affected by events elsewhere and they really wanted to help,” Russo said. “We thought by donating to those causes, it would give them a sense of global responsibility.”

For the students, the lessons they learned during the course of the semester will come into play as they begin their journey into the post-secondary world, even if they aren’t majoring in business.

That’s the case for Kisselgoff, who is heading to New York City next fall to attend the American Musical and Dramatic Academy.

“Performance and marketing is actually a big part of what you do, especially as you look to market yourself as a person and put yourself out there,” Kisselgoff said.

“All I’ve been doing is yelling at people to come and buy our products, but you have to be persuasive. That’s what you have to be in order to be an entrepreneur and create a successful business.

“I think this class has opened the doors for me to many business opportunities that may arise in the future.”

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