These middle schoolers might be your boss someday


GREENWOOD VILLAGE, Colo. — The working world is changing. Traveling to the office five days a week for a full eight hours a day seems to be a thing of the past even in a post-pandemic world. As a recent Forbes column concluded, “The trend towards remote work is here to stay, and companies and job seekers alike can benefit from it. Another trend? The increasing ways people can earn a living outside of that “traditional 9-to-5 office job”  something the younger generation of workers seems to be latching on to.  

Three out of five teenagers surveyed at the end of 2021 said they want to launch their own business instead of having that traditional job. Nearly 40 percent of teens would be interested in programs during or after school that focus on teaching entrepreneurship. These statistics can explain why the new Young Business Leaders club at Campus Middle School in Greenwood Village is garnering such excitement — or maybe it’s the sugar.  

At a recent club meeting, high school leaders and members of the Cherry Creek High School Future Business Leaders of America led the Young Business Leaders, a group of about 20 middle schoolers, through an activity involving gummy worms, chocolate pudding and crushed cookies. 

It was all part of a fun way of learning about the American enterprise system and what it would be like to run their own business. The high school leaders started out by helping each team determine the unit prices for the Oreos, gummy worms, pudding, spoons and cups. Then, they collaborated on which construction method would be most effective and finished it off with a discussion on pricing, advertising and enjoying their tasty treats. 

“The earlier kids can start understanding and working with their money, the better off they’ll be,” said high schooler and Cherry Creek FBLA member, Caleb Cole. 

As one of the founding members of the Young Business Leaders, Cole helps create lesson plans, directs activities and shares his passion for entrepreneurship with the younger students. 

“It just makes me feel very happy when I make the activity and then I see it play out perfectly,” he explained. 

Plus, who could argue with playing games with sweet treats after school? 

“You got to do it in a fun way, but we still learned a lot from it,” explained sixth grader Micaela Portugal, who plans to join the high school FBLA and may open her own business someday. 

Fellow club member and sixth grade peer Mia Dwyer said this club helps her learn about economics and how to become a savvier consumer. 

“If we're going over to a store and I need to compare prices, I know I can have my business club help me understand which product to buy,” explained Dwyer, “and tricks in business that I should not fall for.”

Jennifer Sheets is a teacher at Cherry Creek High School and adviser for FBLA. She beamed with pride seeing both middle and high school students in action learning together, saying this club “embodies what Future Business Leaders of America” is about.

“These are the smartest group of kids I could ever imagine working with,” Sheets said. “They are so eager to answer questions. They're so eager to get involved with the curriculum that's being presented. And each week they come in, it seems like they're more excited than they were the previous week,” she explained.

The club has more than two dozen total participants and has secured funding for next school year. Meanwhile, the Cherry Creek FBLA is also celebrating success in another arena.

FBLA has competition events where local chapters can compete in different aspects of business like presenting case studies or projects or students can take tests administered by the National Leadership Conference. Chloe Parish’s team with Cherry Creek FBLA placed third in the state competition and will be advancing to the FBLA national competition in Atlanta this summer.

It’s all about learning aspects of the business world at a younger age, something the high schoolers are now eager to teach their younger counterparts. 

“They're better prepared going into life with real life applicable skills that they can use every day and a lot of stuff that doesn't get taught in their social studies and math classes,” explained Parish. 

It may start with just “dirt and worms,” but the interest in FBLA and similar entrepreneurship clubs among these middle schoolers shows that the future — which may very well be bright — starts now.

Amanda Horvath is the managing producer at Rocky Mountain PBS. You can reach her at

Julio Sandoval is the senior photojournalist with Rocky Mountain PBS. You can reach him at