The 2018-2019 school year featured a launch of a new Entrepreneurship for Others (EFO) course. Now going into its 3rd year, it is exciting to see how this class within the Communication Arts department supports the vision of the what Rockhurst High School is doing with its STEAM initiative. Students model ‘setting their world on fire’ through this project-based class. These hawklet creators, makers and entrepreneurs are solving authentic problems and presenting their solution to an authentic audience. Jesuit Education at its best has always connected students with the world and this class attempts to do just that. Often times, students interested in STEAM often stumble intoentrepreneurial endeavors. Recently, two science students from the University of Missouri Science & Technology recently entered the entrepreneurial space as a result of their science project.

The EFO course is based off of the curriculum from the Ice House Entrepreneurship Program created by the Entrepreneurial Learning Initiative. This curriculum includes a measuring tool to help assess the growth of a student’s entrepreneurial mindset.

Several positive takeaways came out of the Fall of 2018 and Spring of 2019 class. In general, students self-report a growth of their entrepreneurial mindset. Spefically, many students articulated growth in their ability to respond rather than react, recognizing problems as opportunities and even combatting the voice of learned helplessness. Check out the results below:

An interesting growth area came out of the classes these past semesters. It seems like students still see a disconnect between being entrepreneurial and being prepared for college. A number of Rockhurst High School alumni entrepreneurs speak of entrepreneurial endeavors while in college. Moreover, many of them will claim that their entrepreneurial mindset helped them be more successful in college. The 2019-2020 school year will focus on the connection between being entrepreneurial and college ready.

Beyond this simply measuring tool, every student writes a final paper reflecting on how their definition of an entrepreneurial mindset evolved over the course of the semester. Below are a few of notable quotes from these papers.

Quotes from Final Papers

My definition has grown to focus on traits like perseverance, grit, and preparation in achieving one’s goals.
A person with an entrepreneurial mindset isn’t afraid of failure or independence or challenges, they actually embrace all of them because they offer new opportunities.
This year in Entrepreneurship class was very helpful for me in helping me learn what it takes to become successful in this world. The best part for me was learning from our guest speakers and how they all started out small and grew so large through hardwork and perseverance. I’ll use the lessons I learned in this class throughout my life to help me and to help others as well.
I can say that this is the most useful class I have ever taken. The things I learned are extremely beneficial. I use my knowledge form this class in every aspect of life, especially my lawn business. The only thing I could ask for is another version of this class, so that I could take it next year.
Now I understand that an entrepreneur is much like an engineer in the sense of both of them having to be a problem solver or solution innovator. They need to hold themselves to a higher standard than someone that is simply following orders. An entrepreneur has to be ready to learn all the time since there is no way anyone could possibly know everything going into it. The entrepreneur also has to be practical with his initial views and scope of who he plans on helping with his product.
I now understand that an entrepreneurial mindset is something that can be learned by all people and can be developed more as time goes on. It is what people use when they see a problem that needs to be solved and a way that people who want to help others look at life. People with an Entrepreneurial mindset believe that they can change the world with their ideas.
I would like to say that this had been maybe the funnest and best class I have taken at Rockhurst and my life so far. The level of engagement and depth is very hard to match, personal stories from speakers and having to find a mentor that cares about your project. In some parts there may be a challenge but not one you cannot overcome. This isn't a class, it is an experience and as a message to anyone taking this class in the future the statement you get as much as you put in couldn’t be more true.
From August 16th, to now December 13, Entrepreneurship for Others has been a life-changing class. The semester really showed me how much can be done even when one might think it is not possible.

After the fall semester pitch night, one parent sent a follow up email as well:

My wife and I really enjoyed Wednesday night’s presentations. The boys did a great job. I was so proud of Joseph and his team. They truly embraced the projects vs. simply viewing it as a class assignment. - EFO parent

It’s one thing for Rockhurst High School to promote content learning of STEAM subjects. The real key is for the students to embody the Ignatian vision of using their knowledge and resources to positively impact the world. It’s crucial that students develop the communication arts skills that help them channel their competence through their conscience and manifested in their compassion. After all, the goal of Jesuit education is to form men of competence, compassion and compassionate commitment.

Read more about how Rockhurst is promoting entrepreneurship and the arts here.