Have you been paying attention to the announcements after school? Did you see the flyers hanging from the staircases and other various places? If you haven’t then you most likely do not know about The Excel Group. No, this is not a group to learn about the Microsoft program but a group designed to teach students about business.
However, according to the leader of The Excel Group, Geralda LaGuerre, it is not just an after school club, it is a company. I sat down with Geralda to talk more about the company. When asked why she started the Excel Group she replied, “I started the Excel Group mainly because I was inspired by Junior Achievement. I liked how students who were interested in business got to explore their interests. I wanted to start one at AITE because even though we have our courses in engineering, we have a lot of students who have a strong interest in business.” She should know.
Last year, she took Mr. Keller’s Intro To Business (now Entrepreneurship) class where she developed the product Frubos. What is Frubos? “Frubos is an alternative fruit snack, compared to the brand named fruit cups. What people don’t know is fruit cups in the market have lead, sugars and syrups. What they don’t know is it’d be the same thing as giving your child Twizzlers.” Geralda stated. How does she make hers different? “I take cantaloupe which has Omega-3 and watermelon and honey dew and make spherical shapes with a melon baller and mix them together to make a medley of healthy fruits. I only use natural preservatives.” How has this success helped her run The Excel Group? “The whole process of making our own product in business, I was able to understand the many aspects that go into making a business plan and it let me know what it’s like to run a business.”
Geralda also cites her mentors as being AITE’s own teachers; Mr. Keller, Mrs. Lauer and Mrs. Diaco. “I took Intro To Business which is now Entrepreneurship with Mr. Keller. He has shaped me to be the strong business person that I am today. He has become a mentor to me along with Mrs. Lauer, my accounting teacher and Mrs. Diaco for people I go to for questions and insight.” Ms. Lauer is also the teacher advisor for The Excel Group and has helped with the company. What plans does the company have for the year? “The Excel Group’s objective is to make money that benefits our AITE community. Our main product is The Excel Magazine which is a magazine that is dedicated to the students that benefits the students and the community. [It is] something for the students to look forward to and the reason is because it’s come to people’s attention that we have phenomenal students here that aren’t recognized for their achievements. So this magazine will help them be recognized.” The company also hopes to expand to other products throughout the year that will be developed as time goes on. There has been talk of some future products, but nothing has yet to be set in stone.
The one thing Geralda wants everyone to know? “I want people to know that we are going to be big. I’m a big thinker and I always want to do something big. Although it is identified as a group, we act as a company. We have deadlines, commitments and we work with real money. We are the first company in ten years at AITE, which is a great honor but a great risk as well. The Excel Group is really to help young individuals who plan to be leaders excel now so they’ll be ready for the future.” As of now, there aren’t too many regular members to the company. Does this upset the president? “Originally I thought we’d have a lot of people but I was very satisfied with the group of people I got because the people that I have work as if there are twenty people.” Later she stated, “I have probably the greatest people I could ask for on my team.” However don’t let that be a turnoff to join. The company is looking for new members and is hoping that more people will join. Don’t take this as an easy way to make money. You’ve got to work hard. The company is made up of several departments that you can join in and work with. You have tasks and deadlines just as any company would. Are you up for the challenge? The company meets every Tuesday after school in Room 310. Want more information? Contact Mrs. Lauer or Geralda.