JROTC’s World’s Finest Chocolate Sellers

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Ayla Yebba

Some of Durant’s top chocolate sellers.

Ayla Yebba, Editor in Chief

One of the best times of year at Durant has come and gone. Those students who missed it can eagerly await the arrival of the World’s Finest Chocolate bars next school year.

Durant’s Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (AFJROTC) students recently ended their $1 chocolate bar sales to raise money for their program. Students may remember these chocolate bar sales from their middle school days, and now they’re back and better than ever.

Not only do these sales benefit the consumers, they benefit the sellers as well. In addition to raising money for their program, these chocolate hustlers have learned networking skills, inventory management and sales strategies. Proceeds raised will help the JROTC program support their trip to Washington D.C. and many other activities.

To boost sales in a big way, the JROTC program offers an incentive to encourage their students to sell as many chocolate boxes as possible. This year’s highest seller Senior Dennis Bolender sold 12 boxes and received an award of $100. The second and third place winners earned smaller cash prizes.

Freshman Sadie De Croix participates in JROTC because of her interest in joining the military after high school. “My parents both having served in the US Army has given me a peak of interest to serve my country.”

De Croix is appreciative of the strategies she’s learned while selling chocolate. “You get increased communication skills,” said De Croix. “In order to sell, you have to talk and share the business.”

The fundraising aspect of chocolate sales is crucial to the many trips and activities the program participates in.

Jade Ledesma is a sophomore going into her second year of JROTC. She initially joined after hearing that it was a fun class where students can build friendships and learn to work with others. She is excited to attend the extracurricular activities planned for the cadets. “What us students get out of it is going on field trips to cool places. We do events that allow us to get to know each other more and learn about different things.”

Even though this fundraiser seems very straightforward and structured, many students take their sales to the next level and get creative with their marketing. “One good strategy is the upsell … if someone is buying one chocolate you can ask them if they want to buy a chocolate for their mother,” said Top Seller Bolender. “Or keep them talking, the longer you’re in a conversation with a person, the more likely you are to make the sale.”

Even though Bolender has great chocolate slanging skills, his goals in JROTC go way further than that. He joined the program because of his interest in the military and the benefits of staying in the program all four years, specifically the multiple scholarships available to cadets.

Clarence Williams is a senior going into his fourth year of JROTC. By the end of the fundraiser he sold seven boxes of chocolate. “My strategy was to go around and ask friends or people that I knew if they wanted chocolate,” said Williams. “That strategy evolved to just asking everyone.”

Chocolate sales are officially over, but there’s always next year. Students can look forward to the annual return of the World’s Finest Chocolate from JROTC next school year. Until then, they’ll have to settle for Halloween candy to tide them over.