They’re only out of school for the summer, but two Duncanville ISD students are already getting a preview of the working world. Sophomore Priscilla Leal-Arizpe and junior Jonathan Cothern have started their own businesses – Arizpe runs an online bakery, while Cothern offers website building and design.
Opening her business during the summer of 2010, Arizpe’s interest in baking began long before. She watched the Food Network show “Cake Boss” in middle school and became inspired. “I thought it was the coolest, most creative thing ever,” she explained. “I began watching more Food Network, going to the library, reading about cakes, and even watching some videos on the internet. I pretty much taught myself, and learned from many mistakes. My brother mentioned that I should start selling my desserts, so I made a Facebook page.” Naming her business Zilla’s Bakery after a nickname given to her by her father, it continues to grow through word of mouth. Arizpe has also launched a website at bakeryzilla.moonfruit.com. She says all of her free time outside of school is spent in the kitchen. “I get 20 orders or so every month, and since I make everything from scratch, it takes a lot of time and patience. But I don’t mind staying up late to do what I love. In the end, it’s all worth it.”
Cothern’s entrepreneurial efforts are somewhat new. He received his first client in May 2012, designing and building a website for The Green Homeowners Association. The project stemmed from his Problems and Solutions class at DHS. “A representative from The Green visited our class,” Cothern explained. “Each of us submitted a design proposal, and mine was picked.” He then worked with the HOA to build the site, and launched it from his home on May 15. “It’s exciting to see your work out there,” Cothern said. “My mom does this professionally, so she was real proud of me as well.”
While the work of these students is propelling them to success, their education at Duncanville High School is laying the foundation. Cothern learned the basics of website building in teacher Annette Burnap’s Web Technologies class. He also plans to continue to practice his skills in Problems and Solutions II next year. “My advanced students have published four websites in class,” commented Burnap. “Just this school year, they created www.divasreflexions.com and www.thepergolafactory.com. We also have four websites lined up for the fall for local citizens or businesses.” Arizpe looks forward to taking culinary classes next school year. “This is what I want to do for the rest of my life,” she said. “I want to be known as a great baker and to have fun with what I do.”