The entrepreneurial learning experiences with the most history, longevity and awards that the Charter Partners Institute brings to the Lehigh Valley and Western New Jersey high schools are student-run businesses. More than eighteen years ago, one such program, called Wings, was introduced at Warren Hills Regional High School, Washington, NJ with the purpose of giving high school students hands-on business experience. Under the guidance of teacher Ralph Fiore, co-founder of Wings, the six founding students at WHRHS explored several ideas and decided to start a radio station inside the school. Within a year, the radio station was so popular that one third of the student body was involved. By year four, Wings became a New Jersey State Department of Education accredited elective course – Communications Technology I and II.
Wings started with the radio station club, but grew continually as new needs were identified within the company, the school and the community. Currently, in addition to the radio station that begins broadcast each weekday morning at 7:00am, there is a TV station, which records and edits announcements to be broadcast in classrooms the following morning, and also produces commercials for local merchants who are sponsors. The monthly Wings Newsletter is produced from October through May and is distributed to every student in the high school, its feeder elementary and middle schools, and several local businesses. Wings operates the School Store, runs the Breakfast Bistro in the mornings, and it owns and operates five vending machines in Washington, NJ, including three within the high school.
These six Wings businesses are run by eleven different student teams covering the areas (departments) of: Sales and Marketing, Radio, TV/Editing, Newsletter, School Store, Advertising, Breakfast Bistro, Finance, Web Design and Maintenance, Technical Maintenance, and Stakeholders / Human Relations. Each team has a second year Wings student as its leader and these leaders hold regular Board meetings with their advisers/mentors to discuss operations issues and opportunities for expansion.
Wings has realized a financial net gain in thirteen of its fourteen years of operation, and typically earns a net profit of around $20,000/year. The profits are used to purchase new equipment and to fund scholarships for graduating Wings students.
For more information about the Wings Inc., please visit,