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Grosse Pointe educator wins national award for teaching students how to run a business

Business raised $8,500

GROSSE POINTE, Mich. – A Grosse Pointe Park teacher is getting national recognition for turning learning into a real life business.

Susan Howey is teaching her fourth grade students how to run their own business. The idea is already paying off in more ways than one.

The students make things called fan faces. Their purpose is to blow up your favorite people or pets to cheer them on -- but the real purpose is much more than that.

Over the past three years Susan Howey, a teacher at Trombly Elementary School, has been running a business out of her classroom.

“It has so many elements. You know, you have production, you have getting an advertising, and using social media. The accounting side of it. Writing commercials and scripts and podcast sand all these different pieces that are all part of our learning,” Howey said.

The business idea is called Fan Faces.

“We take your photo or your pet photo and we laminate it and we can either put it on as tick so you can cheer them on at your sporting events and recitals -- we do small ones where we put them on cupcakes for birthday parties and things like that,” Howey said.

The project has won Howey a Leavy Award, a national award given to teachers for excellence in private enterprise education. Only five teachers in the country received the honor.

The business has raised $8,500 and has donated $5,500 to charities. Even when the school was closed, the students were able to pivot to an online business model.

Howey said she hopes to continue the business with her new fourth grade students even if classes go online this fall.

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