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Kids learn responsibility in new bookstore at Duncan Creek

HOSCHTON - Most people don't get their first jobs until they are in high school. But 10-year-old Jack Fleming is getting a head start on the road to responsibility. He is the new assistant manager of a student-run bookstore at Duncan Creek Elementary School.

Reading Specialist Melanie Mount started the bookstore as a way of teaching fourth-graders about the working world. Starting this week, it will be open before school from 8:20 a.m. to 8:50 a.m. every Friday.

"I think it allows them to get an awareness of responsibility," Mount said. "A lot of kids this age don't think about responsibility until they get to the age where they can get a job."

Just like applying for a real job, the kids had to fill out applications. Mount had fourth-grade teachers nominate students to apply for cashier, inventory, security and managerial positions. Students had to answer questions about why they were qualified, why customer service is important and how they would handle hypothetical situations. Based on their application answers, she picked students to interview.

Some of the kids were so nervous that they practiced interviewing with their parents. In the end, 18 students were selected to work on a rotating Friday schedule. If they can't make their shift, they have to let Mount know a week ahead of time.

Lennox Lawler, 10, is excited about her first job, even if she isn't getting paid for it. Her favorite book, "That's So Raven: What You See is What You Get," is one of the books that will be for sale.

"I'm excited about helping out people and making sure they get their books," Lennox said.

The school received its original books for free when they won a bookstore contest sponsored by SchoolWide.com. They will each cost $1.50. Proceeds from the sales will go toward buying more books.

The bookstore is igniting enthusiasm at the school among many kids, not just the employees. When it was set up last week, students stopped to look at the books, whispering to their friends about which ones they wanted to buy when it officially opens on Friday.

"Many students have told me they'll save their allowances. They won't eat ice cream for a few days to save money," Mount said.

The new employees will be responsible for checking inventory, selling books, insuring security and recording their sales.

Fourth-grader Cooper Doyen isn't worried about his customer service skills at the new bookstore. He already has experience in sales: He used to have a lemonade stand.