Choosing Your Child’s School: the 5 Ws and How?
The Little Red Schoolhouse south of town at the Malta Curve is one of the most photographed scenes in Lake County. And rightfully so.
Officially known as The Malta Schoolhouse, this quaint educational institution was built in 1902 after the original schoolhouse burned down. This “second” Malta School operated from 1902 to 1945.
But for photographers, it’s the school’s dramatic backdrop of the Mosquito Range – especially when it’s covered in snow – that makes that bright red color POP. Then, of course, there’s the nostalgia of the one room schoolhouse, a throwback to a much simpler time in education, many years ago.
The Little Red Schoolhouse is duly noted today, in honor of National School Choice Week. Yep, that’s right every January – this year from the 24-30 – is held to raise the public’s awareness of all types of education options for children. These options include traditional public schools, public charter schools, magnet schools, online learning, private schools, Catholic schools, and homeschooling.
Choices are good. It’s healthy for a community to have options. So, to celebrate the 5th Annual National School Choice Week, Leadville Today is posting a news story by a group of student journalists from Greater Heights Academy in Leadville. Ms. Gibson’s middle-schoolers learned the who, what, why where, when (5 Ws) and how of what makes a good interview (SEE STORY). Then, they interviewed Leadville businessman and Melanzana owner Fritz Howard.
Posted below is their story, plus a link to the entire “The Monthly Heights” Newsletter from Greater Heights Academy. The students did a good job, and you might even find some “breaking business news” in their interview – looks like they asked all the right questions! Well done!
Leadville’s Melanzana: Original, Functional, Soulful!
By Ms. Gibson’s Middle School Class
Living in Leadville, it would not take very long to hear about a successful and thriving business that has been around now for over 20 years. Having a Melanzana is a must have for the Leadville locals!
The middle school class from Greater Heights Academy was excited to have the opportunity to interview Fritz Howard, owner of Melanzana, and Jenny David, (a gem of a seamstress). Fritz started the interview with a tour of the building showing off the enormous rolls of fabric in the back, to the personalized work stations the professional seamstresses each have.
Seventh grader Tyra Chavez, began the interview with a brief introduction, “Hello, my name is Tyra Chavez we are here for the interview.Thanks for having us here today.”
“Yep, thanks for being here,” said Fritz Howard, the founder and owner of Melanzana.
Another seventh grader, Skylar Nacke was curious when the busiest times of the year is.
“Around Christmas and August.” Fritz quickly pointed out.
Seventh grade student Taylor Duel would point out that we all have our own favorite Melly, but wanted to know what the most popular item is to the customers.
“What you’re wearing now, the microgrid hoodie” Fritz said.
However eighth grader Allie Collins was curious about which item Fritz would pick out as a personal favorite. A smile reached across each face as Fritz replied, “The Melanzana dress, it is also our newest so that is probably why it’s my favorite.” Though we probably will never see Fritz in one it was certainly interesting to know that is his favorite melly.
The microgrid hoodie (displayed on the left) is a simple multicolored hoodie (hood and sleeve/ body). It can tighten around the neck and face as much as desired. The melanzana dress (displayed on the right) is a dress with an adjustable hood, and pockets. It can also be multicolored.
“Who comes up with these design ideas?” asked Taylor Duel.
“Um, well it’s kind of a group effort. Everyone works together to make them, but I come up with the original design ideas.” Fritz answered.
Sixth grade student Haylee Gerbitz wanted to know more about Fritz, “What did you see yourself doing when you were a child?”
“I wanted to be a vet” Fritz replied to Haylee.
Though mellys are made and worn for so many activities we, as a class, were curious what they were originally designed for, so Angelo stepped in and asked.
It did not take long for Fritz to respond, “I thought they would be used for kayaking and rafting instructors.”
Then sixth grader Hayden Gerbitz began asking his questions. “Do you sponsor anything?”
“Yes, a lot of things.” Melanzana sponsors the local snowboarding team at Ski Cooper. Another project that really stood out to the middle school class was a program called Rebuild Ghormu, Melanzana donated 150 hats, to the village of Ghormu, where 40 out of 42 homes have been destroyed, along with its surrounding villages. Tents and sleeping bags have been donated as well. This act of kindness displays the impact that this business has on not only Leadville, but on other communities as well.
Howard was asked about colors and who picks them out. According to him “The seamstresses find colors that they like at the fabric company we use.” Their fabric company (Malden Mills) is located in Lawrence, Massachusetts.
Alex Velasquez, hoping to put Howard on the spot asked, “Where do you find your success?”
Howard replied without hesitation, “I find it in my employees, and having a comfortable, happy workplace.”
Angelo Rivera asked one last question, “If you could change one thing about your business, what would it be and why?”
“I don’t think I would want to change anything except expanding into the building next door.” Fritz responded.
Jenny David, (a professional seamstress at Melanzana and sixth grade student Sydney’s mother) was next to be overwhelmed with our questions.
Skylar started off the questions with, “How do you like your job at Melanzana?”
“I love it, it’s the best job I’ve ever had!” said Jenny. (Of course, Howard was still present)
“Have you always liked sewing?” Allie asked Jenny. “Yes I’ve always enjoyed sewing, I learned how to sew when I was around Sydney’s age.”
“Why did you choose to work here?” asked Haylee.
“Well the pay was good and I’ve always enjoyed sewing.”
Sarah Benton, another 6th grader asked, “Do you wear Melanzana often?”
“Yes, all the time, especially the dress.” she answered.Sydney asked her mom what the most rewarding part of her job was. Being able to provide for her kids was Jenny’s quick reply, but Sydney pointed out all of the amazing clothes her mom has made over the years!
Melanzana is a business that anyone could learn about just by going to their website. However, to be able to see the building and talk to the people behind the scenes is what it is all about according to Ms. Gibson’s middle school class!
Melanzana is located at 716 Harrison Ave. in downtown Leadville. You can contact them at 719-486-3245. For more information, visit them at melanzana.com.