Standing Rock High School teacher Jered Keller wants students to think of him as more than just a teacher, but also as a role model.
“I wanted to do something and have a job where I was leaving an impact and making a difference and I think that teaching gives me that feeling, and I just want to give back as well,” Keller said.
Keller teaches business education and recently launched a school store that is now in its third week of operation.
“The world is full of ‘no’s’ and ‘can’t’ and one thing that I think has definitely sparked the light down here is the kids are starting to see, hey I can start a business, or I can register a business name, I can get insurance,” Keller said.
Now, this school store is a business that the American Indigenous Business Leadership students are learning how to run. Items sold include water bottles, socks, T-shirts, and hats.
“A lot of success in the first weeks,” Keller said.
The goal is for Keller to send students to California next March to compete in the American Indigenous Business Leadership (AIBL) Competition in California to win scholarship money. Each item in the store was designed by students allowing them to use their artistic capabilities.
“One thing that I hung on to and really looked up to my role models, my wrestling coaches, my teachers for that traditional support. If it weren’t for those good role models, I wouldn’t be here today,” Keller said.
“One student would design something and then bring it to Keller and me and we would say oh, I like it!” Standing Rock High School Junior Kyra Standing Crow said.
Keller has been teaching for two years and remembers the day he got the teaching bug.
“I started working in insurance and I was staring out the window one day at a State Farm Agency. I saw a school bus go by and I knew I was heading to the horizon, and I thought the wrestling season started I really wanted to coach again,” Keller said.
Keller has helped some of his students get an early start on entrepreneurship.
“I didn’t really imagine myself being a 16-year-old businessman,” Standing Rock High School Sophomore Brandon Driver said.
Driver’s business is called Evacuative, an online retail store like Amazon that sells drones, and much more.
“I’m trying to build it up to make it better,” Driver said.
Now the future waits for inspiring developments to be added to the reservation.
“I kind of thought about that last year with only one place to eat lunch and such. I thought about how I could leave an impact down here,” Keller said.
“There’s a lot of ideas. I always thought that we should have a bowling alley, that would be fun,” Standing Crow said.
To learn more about the school store click here.