Enrollment officially began Saturday for the free Learn Live Lead Entrepreneurial Academy on Miller Road, but parents were also invited to learn more about the school before signing up their child.
Annette Gonzales attended the cookout because she hopes her two daughters can be savvy business women one day. Gonzales said their education so far just wasn't cutting it.
"I just want something different from the Lansing School District, something that is maybe going to offer more programming, different programming, different way of learning, that's definitely something I'm interested in," Gonzales said.
That's why she's probably going to enroll her 7-year-old and 10-year-old in the new academy, which basically offers the equivalent of an MBA for K-6th graders.
"Remember when you used to have a lemonade stand and baseball cards and we used to stand out there and try to make money?" said Paula Cunningham, CEO of Capital National Bank. "We're going to incorporate that into an entire curriculum and teach children all about business, business tenants, and how to be responsible for themselves, and you know the greatest investment anyone can have is when they invest in themselves."
The school plans to take a no fuss approach so students learn what it's like in the corporate world. Cunningham said every student will have a job in the school. They'll need to interview for it, apply for it, and a personnel folder will be kept from kindergarten through graduation.
"There's no such thing as, 'Oh, my mother didn't wake me up,' or 'I'm from a single parent household," Cunningham said. "No excuses, you are here to learn, and if you don't learn you will not be successful, bottom line."
While businesses have already agreed to host students as interns, the school has yet to hire a staff or begin extensive renovations on the building. Cunningham said she's not concerned.
"We're getting flooded by the teachers that are out there, but it's going to be a very selective process, because we want people who aren't looking for a job, but they want to make a difference in the life of a child," Cunningham said.
Every child will also be given a laptop for their work in the classroom.
Cunningham expects to over-enroll for the 280 available spots, and then go to a lottery system if necessary.
Renovations on the building are scheduled to be begin next week. The first day of class is Sept. 10.