But they didn’t stop there.
“No other class in Virtual Enterprise has made a real company and real profit,” Molino said.
Using his background, Molino and his classmates built up Rethink into a true brand, holding a band night at their school to raise funds; creating a shopping cart-enabled website; and selling stock at $5 a share to young investors.
“It’s like the class that never ends, because when you go home you’re still working on it,” Molino said.
The class allowed the Junior Achievement program to build their company beyond the virtual, Cunneen said.
Molino said he was proud to give every investor their $5 back, as his family has a motto that everything given to them is paid back in full.
For Cunneen, running Virtual Enterprise is like teaching 10 classes in one: She instructs her students on accounting, marketing, sales, information technology and other business necessities, and her students were grateful for the practical experience.
Each student also had to learn personal finance and controlled a virtual bank account where they bought various products and services at a trade fair.
“It gives you an eye into the real world,” Molino said.
When Rethink competed at the Long Beach Trade Fair against 64 other schools, the students took first place in salesmanship, despite not having a high-tech booth like other “companies.”
“We had the most dedicated group of salespeople; everyone worked really hard together,” Molino said. “If you have 35 kids who are all focused on one thing, you can’t stop ‘em.”
Rethink’s “staff” even held a virtual grand opening in the school cafeteria on May 20, where they sold about $82 worth of their organic T-shirts and Livestrong-style Rethink wristbands. Molino’s done double-takes when he’s seen students wearing his products on campus.
Any profit that remains at the end of the year will be donated to an environmental organization, Molino said.
Although the Virtual Enterprise business has to be shut down by the end of the school year, Molino registered the Rethink brand, and hopes to develop it in the future.
The lifelong entrepreneur, who has sold painted rocks and put together ping-pong tournaments for profit, plans to attend Concordia University and go into the environmental business field.
“I feel like it’s going to blow up,” Molino said of the industry.
“He really can sell ice to Eskimos,” Cunneen said of her student.
Reporter CANDICE BAKER may be reached at (714) 966-4631 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.