Scott’s Scholars host 2nd annual Cocoa Challenge

For the second year in a row, an exceptionally smart, talented and involved group of Scott Middle School students known as “Scott’s Scholars” served up heaping mugs of hot chocolate, holiday treats and Christmas cheer, the result of a carefully planned fundraiser with benefits earmarked for Denison’s Katy Railroad Museum.

Plans for Scott’s Scholars 2nd annual Cocoa Challenge began in late October when the students and sponsors began collaborating with multiple community partners including Denison Chamber of Commerce President Diana Theall, Chamber members Uka Parker and Rachel Reinert, Denison Development Alliance leaders Tony Kaai and William Myers, John Akers of Eisenhower’s Birthplace, local branding expert David McSmith, Renee Waggoner with the City of Denison, Josh Massey from Railyard Tryincubator, and Zac Duce from First United Bank. The goal: to provide extensive training sessions for the students on small business start-ups and what it takes to be an entrepreneur.

“The Scholars divided into four teams and began to learn all the valuable lifelong lessons of banking, work ethics, and teamwork,” said sponsor and SMS teacher Sharla Mullens who worked with co-sponsor Jessica Likarish to organize the event. “In mid-November, teams presented their business plans to a team of local bankers in a shark tank setting in hopes of getting small start-up loans. The teams were challenged to come up with creative ways to promote and sell hot cocoa before, during and after Denison’s annual Christmas parade. The kids decided that all proceeds would benefit the Red River Railroad Museum, which is located inside the Katy Depot…and that the event would be hosted on the Depot’s beautiful west lawn. It was a huge success!”

Scott’s Scholars teams included “Coco Depot” comprised of Austin Crawley, Price Hotalen, Aden Keener, Landry Lay, Johnson Mai and Abby Rhodes; “Whoville” with members Emma Connor, Mackenzie Crosier, Elizabeth Daniel, Johanna Horne and Layne Sparlin; the “Cocomotives” made up of Chris Gullett, Fallon Johnson, A J Jones, Hank Nunn and Dylan Turner; and the “Coco Express” comprised of Emmerson Dickinson, Carli Mackay, Kaelie Massenburg, Grace Murray and Estelle Shires.

“The four teams opened their businesses on a very cold afternoon and served hundreds of cups of hot cocoa along with lots of sweets, treats and holiday cheer,” said Mullens and Likarish. “These kids are awesome students as well as amazing people who truly enjoy giving back to their school and community. We’re so proud of each and every one of them, and very grateful to all the wonderful community partners who took time out of their busy days to help our students learn about what it takes to be successful entrepreneurs.”



Business was booming outside the Katy Depot on December 3rd at the “Hot Cocoa Bar”, one of several Cocoa Challenge kiosks that were run by teams of Scott Middle School’s talented and involved “Scott’s Scholars”. “These kids are awesome students as well as amazing people who truly enjoy giving back to their school and community,” said event sponsor and SMS teacher Sharla Mullens.“I’m so proud of each and every one of them, and very grateful to all the wonderful community partners who took time out of their busy days to help our students learn about what it takes to be successful entrepreneurs,”



Scott Middle School carolers entertained a large crowd of patrons who enjoyed Christmas music while sipping hot cocoa outside Denison’s historic Katy Depot.



Two Scott’s Scholars took a quick break from selling cocoa to spend time with family and a furry friend, who also dressed for the occasion, during the 2nd annual Cocoa Challenge at Denison’s historic Katy Depot.



A key element of the Scott’s Scholars Cocoa Challenge was planning and managing finances, then selling cocoa and treats to patrons who attended the event at Denison’s historic Katy Depot. This year’s beneficiary: The Katy Railroad Museum.



A group of Scott’s Scholars dubbed “Cocomotives” sold hot cocoa and treats out of a booth reminiscent of the Katy Railroad’s early days in Denison.



A group of Denison school students were among hundreds of patrons who came out to enjoy hot cocoa, snacks and Christmas carols, compliments of Scott Middle School’s “Scott’s Scholars.”

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