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    (THOMAS WALLNER | THE GRAHAM LEADER) Sixth grade Graham Junior High School Builders Club students record a radio commercial for their Hot Chocolicious team Wednesday at the GISD Learning Center.

Hot Chocolicious teams gear up for nonprofit benefit event

Raising over $21,000 for area charitable organizations overall, the Graham Chamber of Commerce Hot Chocolicious program has taken off again this year for a fifth year and is on schedule for the launch of the annual Christmas parade.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, last year the program was changed to the Hot Shopolicious program, an event where sixth grade teams from Graham Junior High School purchased products from local retailers and sold them in an online storefront. With Hot Chocolicious returning this year, teams will display their booth to sell their products during the night of the Christmas Stroll and Lighted Parade which will be held on the Graham downtown square Thursday, Dec. 2.

Originally, the Hot Chocolicious program was for any sixth, seventh or eighth grade student at GJHS, but by the third year there were so many applications turned in it was unfeasible to complete the program. The program is now partnered with the sixth grade GJHS Builders Club students. Graham Chamber of Commerce CEO Krisa De La Cruz said the GJHS Builders Club has around 20-25 students, which is a perfect number to establish teams for the program which serves multiple educational purposes.

“This program is really designed to do three things,” De La Cruz said. “One, it is to educate students on becoming an entrepreneur, what that means and how to do it. The other (thing) is to inspire some of our future entrepreneurs so that hopefully for those who do want to grow up one day and start their own business, (...) I mean this is just a small foundation of understanding, but they still have something to go on and give them a little taste for some of the hard work that goes into starting your own business. And then the third aspect is the philanthropic aspect, where they are able to learn about a lot of the nonprofits here in Graham and then they select a nonprofit to receive their proceeds and that’s a really special part of this program because the students get really excited about being able to present that donation check to the organizations they selected, and it’s really heartwarming to see these Junior High students who have worked really hard to even make a profit with their business and then when they go to present that check the smiles are huge.”

This year, 20 students are participating from GJHS and the program is hoping to expand to encompass Open Door Christian School with a seperate training day based on their schedule, but the students from both schools would be a part of the sale on the downtown square alongside the Christmas parade. The GJHS Builders Club students have already started off with their training days.

For the rest of the story, see the Nov. 3 edition of The Graham Leader.

The Graham Leader

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Graham, Texas 76450
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