Photos and text used with permission of The Anderson News
By Ben Carlson
War broke out in earnest last Friday afternoon at Emma B. Ward Elementary School — a lemonade war, to be exact.
Fresh off their summer assignment to read a book titled The Lemonade War, fifth grade reaching teacher Lisa Hudson’s students used what they learned in the book to not only figure out how to best sell lemonade, but how to effectively market it, draw the biggest crowds and earn the most money.
In the buildup to the war, students first had to create their own currency, which was distributed to fellow students and a handful of special guests who reach received $1.25 to spend as they chose.
Students also built marketing campaigns that included flyers, posters and even commercials that were shown on a TV as customers entered the school’s library.
Then there were the booths — 15 of them to be exact — that were decorated in every manner conceivable, each with its own unique sales pitch.
One booth described itself as “The Funny Lemonade Stand,” and featured a young lady wearing bunny ears and a slogan to “Keep Calm and Drink Lemonade.”
Other booths offered a variety of free snacks to passers-by, including candy bars, sno-cones, chips and a variety of goodies, while others offered everything from free face painting to a chance to shoot some hoops.
Lost in the noise, sales pitches and packed library was the simple fact that, above all else, the students were learning about what it takes to succeed in real life.
“I learned how to keep everyone focused and not to be so controlling,” said Sophie Grigsby, one of the team leaders. “I tend to use mostly just my ideas, but this taught me to listen to others.”
Fifth grader Mia Flynn said she learned plenty about teamwork and cooperation while setting up and designing her team’s stand, among other things.
“The hardest part about selling the lemonade was the competition,” she said, adding that at one point her booth, which offered free face painting, had three customers being painted at the same time.
John Shively said the project was a lot of fun but was perhaps a bit more work than he initially thought.
“I didn’t think it would be that much work,” he said, “but I learned a lot about selling and how to work with my teammates to make the booth successful.”
“I learned how to run a business,” said Emily Hudson. “It was harder than I thought. I didn’t think it would be that much work.”
The winning team was Loco for Lemonade, which raised $98.75, edging its nearest competitor by a mere $2.75.
Parent Alicia McGrath visited the event with a couple of friends from work and all gave the war positive grades.
“I thought it was wonderful to see the kids get enthusiastic and come up with creative ideas to market their stands,” she said.
“I thought it was a great opportunity for the kids to read a book and act out what that book did,” said Beth Milburn, a visitor from Lexington.
“I thought it was the absolute best thing I’ve been invited to,” said Sherry Noon, youth and family services manager at the Anderson Public Library.