FLEX program expands


Kelly Foulk

FLEX Program Director Larry Dukes (back) answers seniors Nick Turnbull, Adam Mrowiec, and Dean LaPonzina’s questions about their venture concept, a tire that can function while punctured. Entrepreneurial Studies is a part of the new FLEX program, which is designed to prepare students for a career in business.

Peeking into room 304, you will see a brand new wall dividing the room into two sections, room 304A and room 304B. To many, the wall comes as a surprise, but to the FLEX program, this wall is just one step in the long process of expanding.  

FLEX stands for Financial Literacy and Entrepreneurial Exploration. The program has been introduced as the newest academic program offered. “It gives students that are interested in business a good opportunity to see kind of what it’s all about,” FLEX Program Director Larry Dukes said.

Room 304B will be used by FLEX students this semester, but 304A currently houses a computer lab used for Computer Animated Design. According to Principal Madelyn Ball, next year the CAD lab will be moved to the current photography lab and darkroom. The darkroom won’t be needed next year due to the removal of the photography elective.

“The plan is [for 304B to be a place for] the entrepreneurial studies classes to start developing their projects and prototypes, as well as a place to store them. It will just be a working classroom to really spread out a little bit and have some room to work on their projects,” Dukes said. In addition, the space will give students a space to work on projects on off mods and after school.

The students are currently working on 13 different  projects and will soon begin developing prototypes.

According to Director of Facilities Stewart Walker, 304B will be used as a lecture and conference area for the class. “The room will also be able to be utilized by any other group. So if there’s not a class in there or after school, it can be just a general meeting space. [It can be used] if there’s a department meeting or an administration meeting,”  said Walker.

Eventually, Dukes hopes to open the incubator classroom up not only to entrepreneurial studies students, but also for anyone who wants to work on developing a business idea.

“75 percent of students will end up working in a business. Every one of the people in the class has a parent who works in a small business. Since that’s where we’re headed and what we do best, this is the most practical thing you’re going to do in high school and college,” Dukes said.

According to Dukes, most colleges already have FLEX spaces, so it’s only natural that we follow suit. “This is a great opportunity. I think we’ll be the first school in Md. at the high school level [with an classroom],” Dukes said.


Adriana Guidi is an Entertainment Editor and Grace Mottley and Kelly Foulk are News Editors for The Patriot and jcpatriot.com.