Soroco arcade a learning tool for students |

Soroco arcade a learning tool for students

High school’s business students apply skills they learn in class

Sophomore Josh Baker lines up a shot during a game of pool Monday at Soroco High School’s arcade. The arcade was created to give the high school’s business students a place to apply the skills they learn in class.
Jack Weinstein

Sophomore Josh Baker lines up a shot during a game of pool Monday at Soroco High School’s arcade. The arcade was created to give the high school’s business students a place to apply the skills they learn in class.
Jack Weinstein

— Soroco High School senior Jacob Hange admitted Monday that had he not been playing pool with friends, he likely would have been at home doing nothing.

It wasn’t shocking that Hange and several friends took turns playing pool that afternoon. But what was a bit unusual was the location. They were at school. And it was the middle of their holiday break — a two-week respite from classes, homework and tests.

The students were taking advantage of the first out-of-school period for Soroco’s youth center, arcade and vending business. It has operated since last school year before and after school hours and during lunch.

Referred to as the arcade, it’s located in the high school commons area. Students can play pool, foosball, pingpong and air hockey. The gymnasium typically is open. And there’s a vending machine with snacks.

“It’s fun. It’s a good place to come and hang out,” Hange said. “It’s something to do. There’s not much to do in Oak Creek.”

Kipp Rillos, Soroco’s career and technical education director, business teacher and Future Business Leaders of America adviser, said Class of 2010 graduates Cody Miles and Alex Estes started the arcade and this year’s business students continued it.

“The No. 1 priority was for them to have something to do,” Rillos said. “The second was for the business kids to have a lab to experiment with.”

And they have. FBLA used proceeds from selling breakfast to buy a used air hockey table two years ago. The school already had a pingpong table. This year’s students also bought the pool and foosball tables and a change machine using a $500 grant and loans.

Rillos said the arcade is covered by the district’s insurance, which the South Routt School Board approved at December’s meeting.

He said Miles and Estes started a business plan for the arcade, which will be completed by senior Leif Carlson, juniors Bailey McClung and KC Buck and sophomore Josie Rossi as a requirement for the business class. Rillos added that the students also set the vending machine prices, created a schedule to staff the arcade and established rules for students.

Carlson said the business class spends about half of its time working on projects related to the arcade. One of the most recent was a grant application to the Craig-Scheckman Family Foundation’s Youth Advocacy Project.

The application outlined the goals for the arcade, such as providing local youths a safe and affordable place to hang out while creating a part-time paying job for students. It indicated a plan to apply for grants and other funding sources to pay off the equipment. And it stated that students intended the arcade to be self-supporting by the end of its second year and run by FBLA in future years.

“I love it because not only does it break up the monotony of school, but you get to see what you learn about in school,” Carl­son said. “You get to apply those methods, kind of like doing an experiment in science class but on a bigger scale.”

Rillos said from an educational standpoint, “it’s fantastic.” He said there’s no better teacher than contextual learning — the students putting into practice what they learn in textbooks and class.

The Craig-Scheckman foundation awarded the Soroco business students $1,000, which will be used to pay students $5 an hour plus a percentage of revenues to manage shifts at the arcade. A district staff person also will be on site when the arcade operates.

Senior David Strait, Monday’s arcade manager, said he signed up to work a shift because he’s a member of FBLA. He said all members volunteered for shifts during the school year. But Strait said even if he weren’t getting paid, he would have shown up.

“You get to play pool, foosball or pingpong,” he said. “And it’s really cheap. If you go to Steamboat and see a movie, it can get expensive. You can come here for an afternoon for a few quarters.”

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