Casell Randle’s first experience as a business leader was in high school. His JA Company Program business, Sweets R Us, sold pastries and other food items to fellow students. The experience sparked an interest in Casell and led him to a successful career in the food industry. Today, Casell is regional chain manager with Cargill Foodservice N.A., an international producer and marketer of food and agricultural products and services.
Casell credits his JA teacher and volunteer for opening his eyes to his career possibilities. “She helped us change our viewpoint,” said Casell. “I learned that there is more to farming than just growing crops. To be successful, you also need to be a smart business person. I learned how global markets work, how businesses work and how I can be a part of it.”
Casell is repaying the favor by inspiring other students to follow his example. As a JA volunteer, Casell mentors students at Denver Center for 21st Century Learning (DC-21), a school that focuses primarily on helping underserved and hard-to-serve students. Students accepted to DC-21 are focused on working hard to be prepared for jobs and opportunities when they leave high school. Appropriately, the JA students at DC-21 manage an on-campus coffee shop. “I helped them identify the business that they wanted to do, write a business plan, sell stock, hire a board of directors, hire a president, create a department of operations and run a coffee shop,” Casell explains.
Business Teacher Beth Ann Erickson appreciates having a role model like Casell in her classroom. “My students are not interested in learning just to learn. Casell has helped give learning a purpose,” said Beth. “As students run actual businesses, they gain skills and experience. Not only is this great for earning school credits, but students are also able to add new skills and experiences to resumes, job applications, and college applications.”
“These students may be in group homes or in volatile environments,” said Casell. “We have the ability to show them the things that you learn in class can help you be successful.”