Ten Providence Students Attend Economics of Entrepreneurship Seminar

It meant departing school at 2 am on July 14, taking a van to LAX, boarding a flight to Atlanta, and taking another nearly two-hour van trip to Georgia’s Berry College— but for 10 Providence students, the long trip was worth it.

 Emily, Katie, and Jenna all have questions during the Shark Tank activity.
Sophomores Trevor English, Josh Guinto, Jake Yonally, Jenna Peterson, Pedro Cruz, and Katie Gerawan, junior Mariano Avila, and seniors Sandy Cruz, Emily Peterson, and Isabelle Marchand made the trek to attend a three-day seminar sponsored by the Foundation for Economic Education.
They heard and discussed talks from professors and entrepreneurs on topics such as “Cooperation, Compassion, and Heart,” “The Economics of Politics,” and “The Role of the Entrepreneur,” as well as three talks by their own teacher, Mr. Rottman, who challenged students about the ethics of free markets.

 Jake and Mariano listening to a talk
 
So, what did Providence students make of their excursion?
 
 Trevor has a question for Dr. Heller
Eating Southern food in the cafeteria, including grits and biscuits and gravy for breakfast, was an interesting adventure. Though some of the food was, according to Jenna Peterson,  “too dry and had too much pepper,” the coffee too watery, the gravy, in Katie Gerawan’s words, “milky pepper,” students found the unlimited soda, vitamin water, and bacon were “awesome!”.
Georgia’s 93 degree heat and high humidity was a bit shocking, as the students admitted they were “too used to perfect weather,” though they did like seeing the legions of tame deer roaming the 27,000-acre campus. 

                                        Arriving at Berry: Mariano, Trevor, Josh, Pedro, Jake, and Mr. Rottman

Most importantly, students thought the program, which focused on the economics and virtues of entrepreneurial business, was an amazing experience: they loved the variety in presentations, the discussion times, and their Shark Tank activity. Katie Gerawan’s group came up with with a time share in Cuba supporting local entrepreneurial kiosks, and Emily Peterson’s group came up with GPS trackers for toddlers (though presumably not for teenagers). Isabelle Marchand’s group’s proposal to make baking a lot more user-friendly won second place.  Students also were impressed by the intelligence and seriousness of the over 100 high school students attending the seminar.
Nine of the 10 Providence students attending the seminar are Libertas Scholars, who are required to attend a minimum of two such seminars during their four years at Providence. Libertas students are also reading and discussingThink Like a Freak this summer, which explores a variety of “noneconomic” issues (why do Nigerian e-mail scammers make it clear that they are from Nigeria?) using the tools of the economic way of thinking.

Isabelle giving an appeal for her team’s “Bake Box” idea

As Providence Libertas Scholars engage in seminars outside of our school, read widely instead of randomly under the direction of Providence faculty, and hone a humanities-based senior project over several years, students emerge as free people, grounded in the truths of the classics, and ready, as Christians, to think, speak, and write not only clearly—but wisely.

Libertas Students Flying to Rome! (Georgia)


One of the requirements for a Providence Libertas Scholar is to attend at least two seminars which deepen students’ understanding of the free society, and one popular seminar is sponsored by the Foundation for Economic Education. 

A record ten Providence high school students are flying to Rome, Georgia for a Foundation for Economic Education seminar at Berry College in July. Trevor English, Josh Guinto, Jake Yonally, Jenna Peterson, Pedro Cruz, Mariano Avila, Katie Gerawan, Sandy Cruz,  Emily Peterson, and Isabelle Marchand will attend “The Economics of Entrepreneurship.”  Each student was awarded a scholarship from FEE to attend the event, and Sandy Cruz received a Libertas travel scholarship which was funded by a generous donation from the Koch Foundation. 

Libertas Director Mr. Bruce Rottman, who lectures for FEE, will give several talks at this seminar, including Economic Thinking for Entrepreneurs, Is Making a Profit Selfish?, and The Virtues of Entrepreneurship.

The Libertas Scholars Program

The Libertas Scholars Program at Providence directs students who have a passion for the liberal arts (history, English, language, art, and economics) to embark on a course of study focused on the humanities. Students successfully completing the Libertas Program will graduate as designated Libertas Scholars.

The program is directed by Mr. Bruce Rottman, a master teacher who has taught humanities, history, American government, and economics classes to students in Christian and independent college preparatory high schools since 1980. He was the recipient of the NASDAQ Award presented to the top five economic educators in the nation in 2000 and was twice the recipient of awards presented by the Wisconsin Council on Economic Education. Mr. Rottman lectures for the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE) and Young America’s Foundation (YAF). He holds a masters degree in international relations from San Francisco State University and a bachelor’s degree in history and a secondary education teaching credential from Calvin College. He joined the Providence faculty in 2009.

Students interested in becoming a Libertas Scholar must complete the attached application. Commitment to this program should not be taken lightly; the coursework will be intentionally challenging, with a view to adequately prepare students to undertake further studies in related fields. The ideal applicant will have demonstrated aptitude in their humanities (English and history) classes, be willing to participate in discussions, and have the desire to be challenged in their leadership skills and academic ability