High School basketball players from James Madison High School are learning logistics, management, and entrepreneurship this year at the Texas state fair.

Their head basketball coach, Damien Mobley, spearheaded the project. Mobley thought it was a good idea, as many of the players “want to get out into the workforce immediately” and own their own businesses.

Supporting their entrepreneurship goals, Mobley said, “We came up with the idea of maybe just bringing some guys over.” He wants the players to continue their learning off the court as well as on.

South Dallas businesses are partnering with the community. The owners of Southside Steaks and Cakes partnered with Mobley to give his players the hands-on experience of working behind the counter.

Keanon Lawson, an eleventh grader at James Madison, hopes this activity will be good practice for a future career in running his own business.

He said he wants to give back to the community as well as learn. “As I get older, I don’t want to have to ask anybody for anything … I want to have everything on my own, and I want to help others too.”

The State Fair of Texas also has scholarship programs for eligible high school students. For example, the Big Tex Scholarship “has awarded scholarships to more than 3,000 students for a total of nearly $15 million” since it was established in 1992.

There are three categories of scholarships: the Pete Schenkel Scholarship, the Youth Livestock Scholarship, and the Seasonal Employee Scholarship, which is eligible to those who have completed at least three years of part-time employment at the fair.

Last year, dozens of students from six DISD schools in the Fair Park area, including James Madison High School, received the Pete Schenkel Scholarship. Each scholarship recipient receives a $6,000 grant, “renewable each semester while working towards a degree at an accredited Texas college or university.”

The other Pete Schenkel Scholarship recipients last year were from Franklin D. Roosevelt High School, Irma Lerma Rangel Young Women’s Leadership School, Lincoln High School, North Dallas High School, and Woodrow Wilson High School.