'New Moon' comes early for business students - East Valley Tribune: East Valley Local News

'New Moon' comes early for business students

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Posted: Wednesday, November 18, 2009 3:56 pm | Updated: 1:07 am, Sat Oct 8, 2011.

The vampire-werewolf-mortal love triangle movie "New Moon" hits the big screen Friday. But a handful of people will see the movie a day early, thanks to class assignments at Mesa's Skyline High School and Gilbert High School.

The vampire-werewolf-mortal love triangle movie "New Moon" hits the big screen Friday.

But a handful of people will see the movie a day early, thanks to class assignments at Mesa's Skyline High School and Gilbert High School.

Before you read further looking for tickets - both classes have already sold out their theaters and raised funds for their classes in the process.

The idea came from Harkins Theaters. DECA teachers at the East Valley high schools signed on.

Vicki Tolman, a DECA teacher at Skyline, and Steve Mulhearn, DECA teacher at Gilbert High, put their students in charge of marketing and selling the tickets.

Each school took a slightly different approach. And by pricing the tickets a bit higher than their cost - and allowing buyers to be among the first to see "New Moon" in the Valley - each school raised about $2,000 for DECA trips and scholarships.

DECA is an association of students who study marketing and leadership.

At Skyline, the students had to determine a price point to meet supply and demand. They had to create a marketing plan about how to reach potential customers on campus and off. Some students were charged with creating posters and signs to promote the event. All students in the DECA classes were invited to sell the tickets, with some earning prizes for selling the most.

"We were going out on a limb," Sabrina Rodriguez, 17, said. The DECA president at Skyline said the students had to sell the tickets in two weeks to meet a contract deadline with Harkins.

"I learned how to overcome objections," Rodriguez said about asking fellow students to buy tickets. "The first day at lunch we sold one ticket. It was really sad. We learned to keep trying, and if you keep trying, it starts rolling."

The teens said they learned that an initial rejection can eventually turn into a sale.

Shelby Pritchett, 18, said she and a classmate approached school office workers about buying tickets and were told "no thanks." But then a return trip resulted in a sale because one of the adults wanted to buy tickets for her son after telling him about the "New Moon" early premiere.

"We were taken aback. We thought she was a lost cause," Pritchett said.

In fact, the students say, most of the tickets they sold for the 7 p.m. showing Thursday at Superstition Springs Harkins were not to Skyline students.

"These kids are future entrepreneurs," Tolman said, beaming proudly.

The DECA program at Gilbert High followed a similar plan - doing research on a break-even points and pricing. Like Skyline, they had about 400 tickets to sell for a 7:30 p.m. showing at Harkins' SanTan Village 16 theater.

At first sales were limited to club members. Then they were opened up to teachers and then to other students. It was all part of a sports and entertainment marketing class, Mulhearn said.

"I think what it does do is give kids the confidence to be able to tackle a big event and be able to break down in small pieces the simple things you need to answer," he said. A lot of what the students learned was about risk and the role risk plays in economics.

"The better you plan, the less risks are there," he said.

Plus, with the event being a showing of "New Moon," part of the best-selling "Twilight" series written by Valley author Stephenie Meyer, the teachers knew it would be a hit with the teens.

"Even if we didn't make a lot of money, it would have been OK because DECA would be involved in the greatest, latest thing about," Mulhearn said.

Though the classes sold out their Thursday evening shows, Valley theaters are now selling tickets to midnight showings of "New Moon."

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