By Brian Whitehead
Redlands Daily Facts, Calif.
Inside the building Kmart once used to sell clothes, electronics and toys to Inland Empire shoppers, a new charter school is teaching teenagers the finer points of business.
Vacant for more than 15 years, the roughly 150,000-square-foot facility on Highland Avenue now resembles the corporate headquarters of a Fortune 500 company. Between the modern furniture, spacious common areas and integrated technology, creative young minds have their mecca.
“Be a boss!” Entrepreneur High urges.
Chartered through San Bernardino City Unified, Entrepreneur High is one of four Southern California schools operated and managed by REAL Journey Academies, a nonprofit that also runs New Vision Middle School for sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders.
New Vision and Entrepreneur share the same location; both opening in their new digs this month.
“I don’t think you’ll find anything around the Inland Empire like this,” said Alex Lucero, REAL Journey founder.
Entrepreneur High’s executive director, or principal, Ray Culberson, had a busy summer canvassing Highland and San Bernardino, pitching parents on a school near a Big Lots! and a Food 4 Less that hadn’t yet been completed.
“I’m Ray Culberson,” he’d say, “and I want your kid to be a boss.”
Without a finished campus, the longtime San Bernardino City Unified youth services director instead sold REAL Journey’s vision, its promise to provide soon-to-be ninth-graders a tuition-free school tailored for their entrepreneurial spirits.
Culberson made himself omnipresent, handing out business cards in department stores and setting up banners around town.
A couple hundred parents bought in. School started Aug. 6.
“It’s an amazing thing,” Culberson said. “Parents giving us their most prized possession just on a card.”