Ferndale Students Get Visit from The Profit’s Marcus Lemonis

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(Crystal A. Proxmire, Jan. 26, 2016)

Ferndale, MI – Teachers have a special way of calling on kids and making them squirm but also helping them grow. That is the same skill that Marcus Lemonis brought to the auditorium of Ferndale High School on Tuesday when he came to film a special episode and to share his success with the young people.

“Everybody comes to Detroit to look good, they think it’s the popular thing to do,” Lemonis said. “[But I’m here because] the same things you go though every day… is what I went DDAnew01though.”

The famous business investor is known for his show The Profit where he considers what small businesses to invest in and along the way shares his knowledge with the business owners and the viewing audience.

He partnered with Ferndale Schools to host an Entrepreneurship Challenge among groups of students and on Tuesday he came in person to help announce the winners at an assembly.

But instead of talking about how to be good at business, Lemonis talked with the kids about something even more fundamental: how to be good at being themselves.

Lemonis was born in Lebanon, but spent his childhood in Miami. “That’s where I grew up and where I got beat up,” he said.baby modern natural 03

“I had no friends in high school. I weighed 75lbs more than today, I had big hair, and I struggled. I thought about suicide and a lot of crazy things because I didn’t know what I wanted to do in life.”

He said that even today he still struggles with insecurity and with friendships. “Having a TV show doesn’t solve things,” he said.

In spite of struggling, he found that business was his passion. “If I felt bullied I would take that energy and put it into business,” he said. “Business became my family and my friends.”

Putting himself out there was a challenge. But it’s one that most everyone faces. Like an apt teacher, Lemonis called students out, pushing their comfort levels in a rare opportunity to be sidebar012balloonratesvulnerable and to shine.

Avery Benner was one of those students. She got an unexpected invitation to come to the front of the auditorium to sing, a challenge that she met with a resounding version of the classic Etta James song “At Last.”

The students cheered her on. “Your support gave her that confidence,” Lemonis said. “No matter what you want to do, stick together and support each other.”

He asked hard questions of the students, and encouraged them to bear their souls. He asked if they ever felt like maybe they weren’t a good person, and why.

One young man talked about how it felt being bullied. Another talked about how sometimes he is not very nice to girls. Lemonis told the youth that they would never know who that other person may end up being. One day they could be their boss, or their doctor, or maybe their Red Door Realty Ad _own_your_dreamfather was the dean at a university they wanted to attend. He explained how being nice was not just the right thing, but the practical thing.

At the end it was the student’s turn to ask questions. Arthur Smith asked Lemonis if he ever worried about people being around him with less than friendly intentions. The answer was yes, but that he keeps his personal life very private. “If people are there when things are bad, that’s usually what matters,” he said.

Jayla Nance, who works at Pretty Girls Rock Boutique, asked if he had any advice for her in wanting to open a boutique of her own. The entrepreneurship expert advised her to go to school for both business and fashion so she could know what she is doing, and to work for other people for many years so she could learn from them before venturing on her own.

In addition to words of wisdom, The Profit star came bearing gifts. He donated $10,000 to the 711 ad pizzaschool. Plus the winners of the competition got an all-expense paid trip to Universal Studios in Orlando to attend a week-long Business Learning Series at the movie-themed amusement park.

The first place team was made up of Zach Simpson, Jalan Thomas, Leo Sweeney, Jacob Keller, Jack Michalak, and Nathan Sherman. Their Smart phone parking application concept called “Parkit.” would tap into a city’s digital parking system to let visitors know where open parking spots are available. It would also allow residents to open up their own driveways as parking spaces and profit from the usage.

The second place team consisted of students Cameron Blackwell, Nadia Shoot, and Brianne Holt. Their concept was to revitalize the Royal Oak Township Recreation Center and expand the services offered to include community education and career readiness classes, youth twist_club01sports, as well as to become the focal point of local charitable organizations.

Lemonis had lunch with the kids, then spent the afternoon visiting individual classrooms before ending his visit with a trip to Rosie O’Grady’s, where the owner treated students to dinner.

The assembly was filmed by CNBC and will be part of an upcoming episode. The date is not known, but the oc115 will announce it as soon as we know. For more on The Profit, see http://www.cnbcprime.com/the-profit/. For more on Ferndale Schools visit www.FerndaleSchools.org.

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