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Corcoran Students Learn Business Firsthand from Cougars Alumni

This is a photo from the back of a classroom showing students at their desks watching a screen projection showing a Corcoran alumni who was guest speaking.Corcoran students in Mr. Schroth’s Business Math class had an opportunity to learn about their curriculum firsthand, thanks to a virtual visit from Corcoran alumni – and now successful business owners – Bianca Jones and Cordell Grant.
Bianca, a 2008 Corcoran graduate and Cordell, a 2009 Corcoran graduate, are co-owners of BOSSMADE, an apparel company that they started in 2015. They took the time to join the Business Math class for their final unit, entrepreneurship, to talk about their journeys from the Home of the Cougars to business owners.
During the discussion, students asked their predecessors about the challenges of starting their own business, how they got the business up and running financially, how they came up with their business plan and logo, how they built the business to success, the company’s future, how they stay motivated and more.
Math teacher Steve Schroth said the experience was invaluable for his students, as it helped bring what they have been learning to life.
“I think this experience helped the students gain a personalized perspective into so much of the information we covered this past semester in Business Math such as being self-employed vs having an employer, marketing, advertising, understanding fixed expenses vs. variable expenses, what it means to invest in a company and invest in yourself, startup costs, business plans and models, equity shareholding vs royalty payments, gross income vs net income and more,” Mr. Schroth explained. “Hearing about these concepts from a former Corcoran Cougar and someone that has followed a path to graduation like all this year's soon-to-be alumni not only makes the idea of becoming a business owner more appealing, but it also makes it a true reality for them. Bianca and Cordell are truly inspirational and were fantastic to talk to!”
Junior Emani Smith, who hopes to start her own business one day, said she was inspired to continue pursuing her dreams – but she also learned about the importance of perseverance.
“I learned that business is not a piece of cake,” she explained. “It takes time, dedication, and hard work. There are pros and cons to starting your own business. I took a lot from what they said and applied it to my own scenario: what would I name my company? How much would the overall cost be? What would I produce? How could I grab attention? How might I get investors? I feel like the information and advice I was given will really assist me in the future. I'm happy that Bianca and Cordell are successful, and I wish to follow in their shoes and become a top business as well!”
BOSSMADE CEO Bianca Jones said that having the opportunity to return to her alma mater to share advice with current students was surreal, noting that she was thankful that her former teachers helped make the opportunity possible.
“It was a blessing and an honor to go back to talk to students at Corcoran, especially since they are from the neighborhood that I’m from,” Ms. Jones said. “I let them know that anything is possible and they can do anything they want – that it’s okay to have multiple dreams. No matter what their interest is, they can have their own business if they want to. I still see kids on the South Side talking about what they want to do when they grow up – it’s time we start educating them about the options open to them that don’t include working for other people. My advice is really just to never give up. You’ll have your ups and downs with a business, just like if you’re going to school or playing a sport. You just need to stick to it and keep your head up. You can’t let anything stop you… you’ve got to continue to go.”
Thank you to Bianca and Cordell for taking the time to share their success and insight with students at their alma mater!
Anthony Q. Davis, Superintendent
725 Harrison Street
Syracuse, NY 13210
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