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Rock Canyon students build their own business

Rock Canyon High School Business students, from left to right, Ann Gibson, Thomas Kerker and Jack Gebhardt outside King Soopers selling their product, Canyon Clothing. The company was created to learn more about owning and managing a small business.

By Sarah Bermingham, RCHS intern writer; photo courtesy of Gisselle Moreno and Kevin Huang

Rock Canyon High School (RCHS) students are often offered amazing opportunities to learn about new things in unique ways, but few projects are as rewarding and educational as building a functioning business. Four groups of students from Janna Robinett’s business strategies class each created their own company as a school project last semester. One of the companies started by 11 RCHS seniors, Canyon Clothing, was recently featured on the Colorado and Company TV show.

The business strategies class involves usual class work, but it is made special by the opportunity to apply what students have learned to the real world. “Our business class has a very energetic environment and is filled with students that have unique skill sets and varying viewpoints,” said Castle Pines resident Thomas Kerker, Canyon Clothing vice president of public relations.

Kevin Huang created the Canyon Clothing logo to reflect what makes Colorado a wonderful place to live. Canyon Clothing is a company created by a group of business students at RCHS to learn about owning and managing a small business.

Canyon Clothing CEO and Castle Pines resident, Jack Gebhardt, said, “Getting to experience some of the challenges and successes of running a small business has been great, and it has given my team and me some great insights into how a small business operates.”

Robinett’s students took away valuable business lessons from building Canyon Clothing and developed skills that they will use throughout their careers. Castle Pines resident Mitchell Colander said, “I have enjoyed the project because someday I would like to run my own business, and this is an eye opener to see what it is really like.” Gisselle Moreno, supply chain executive and Castle Pines resident said, “I’ve never had the chance to use this much critical thinking and creativity in one project. It has been one of the most enriching experiences I’ve ever had in school.”

This rewarding experience was not without difficulties. William Kong, Canyon Clothing vice president of finance, explained, “I found that starting a business is much more difficult that people think, and with this project I will have more background on businesses for future endeavors.”

Robinett’s students were held responsible for all aspects of the Canyon Clothing project in order for them to truly understand what it is like to own and manage a small business. “This has made the process extremely realistic, which has helped us become more responsible and aware of everything we are doing,” said Kerker.

All profits are being donated to Big City Mountaineers, a Denver-based company that sends underprivileged, inner-city kids to explore the Coloradan wilderness and meet with mentors.

For more information on Canyon Clothing, including sale dates and locations, visit For more information on Big City Mountaineers, visit To watch Canyon Clothing on Colorado and Company, visit



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