Westborough Students Digest Mentoring Experience

Westborough, MA – Although the record-breaking Boston snowfall in January put a damper on many initiatives, including a planned National Mentoring Month event for nearly 80 Westborough High School students, the event prevailed with more excitement and pomp and circumstance on February 26, 2015.

When two packed yellow school buses arrived with Westborough High School students at PENTA Communications, an award-winning regional marketing firm at 208 Turnpike Road, the students and teachers were greeted by PENTA CEO, Deborah Penta, and President of the Lockwood/McKinnon Group, David Lockwood. Lockwood’s company owns 24 Taco Bell franchises in New England. Both Penta and Lockwood were looking forward to talking with students who were on site to understand marketing and what it takes to start and promote a business, and, more specifically, a Taco Bell franchise.

What the students didn’t realize, is that there were surprises in store, including a phone conference with Lt. Governor Karyn Polito, a visit from State Representative Carolyn Dykema, the chance to serve as “marketing advisors” by voting for an advertising design targeting their peers, and the opportunity to perform as Celebrity Chefs at the new Westborough Taco Bell location on Route 9 West, next to Not Your Average Joe’s.

Lt. Governor Polito talked with the group about doing business in the Commonwealth and asked students to share what they believed the challenges were facing companies today. She highlighted various initiatives that both Governor Baker and she are spearheading to help make the business landscape in Massachusetts more competitive in attracting and retaining companies in the Commonwealth.

Representative Dykema discussed the value of business, community, and legislative collaboration and applauded the students for their participation in the program.

The students experienced the collaborative efforts of business and legislation in action with a dialogue shared by themselves, the event hosts and respective participation from participating elected officials.

“We were delighted to host this mentorship experience with our client, the Westborough Taco Bell, to provide students with an opportunity to gain practical knowledge of how marketing can make a difference and how our strategies play a role in a client’s success.” Said Penta “Studies prove that mentoring has a direct impact on the success of students and we are committed to doing our part in helping to engage with young people and serve as mentors.”

According to a study facilitated by Big Brothers Big Sisters, students who engaged with an adult mentor were 52% less likely to skip school when compared to teens who lacked a mentor. In addition, the study uncovered that those students with mentors skipped class 37% less than their peers.

“There are many statistics both nationally and internationally that support the long-term impact of mentorship for children and adults of all ages and demographics,” Said Penta.

Westborough Taco Bell offered students a behind the scenes look at what it took to start a business, along with a hands-on experience at the store. From sampling lunch items to participating in creating food items, students were educated and engaged in all facets of a food service enterprise within a three-hour period.

“It was exciting for our Company to provide the students of Westborough High School with such a great opportunity to learn about how a small business operates,” Said Lockwood. “We were students once, and are thrilled to share our story with the youth of Westborough.”

The event was a perfect collaboration of two companies joining forces to craft an unforgettable business experience.

PENTA is a regional leader in providing mentorship opportunities, internships, work study programs, and the firm provides an annual leadership scholarship to a college-bound female high school student each year as part of its commitment to inspiring workforce diversity and building stronger leaders for the future.

And, Westborough Taco Bell didn’t take long to integrate its organization into the fabric of the community. The organization joined the local Chamber of Commerce, provided free coupons to the schools, designed a fundraiser to help support arts and culture within the high school, and collaborated on a mentoring experience that not only provided practical knowledge for the students, but the organization also donated lunch to all in attendance.

The Lockwood/McKinnon Group has been a true partner to many communities in which it operates its stores, and is looking forward to growing its involvement in Westborough.

School officials were very pleased with the results of the engagement.

“PENTA has always been a great supporter of the Business Department at Westborough High School.” Said Darrell Potosnak, Business/Computer Science Department Head, Westborough High School, “I am very appreciative of the opportunity to be here today with my students as they tour PENTA and Taco Bell and hear about Deborah Penta’s and David Lockwood’s entrepreneurial journeys and the overall marketing experience for the Westborough Taco Bell.”

Westborough’s Superintendent of Schools, Amber Bock, was very pleased that students were provided with this opportunity. “We are excited to partner with PENTA Communications and the Westborough Taco Bell in this opportunity for eighty-one of our business students to learn firsthand about the inner workings of their operation as well as that of Taco Bell. Collaborating with businesses in our community is an essential goal to expand our students’ knowledge and interest in the real world of business. PENTA and the Westborough Taco Bell are examples of two organizations that have gone out of their way to reach out to our schools.” She said.

Westborough High School Principal Brian Callaghan added, “The opportunity for Westborough High School students in our business courses to meet with local entrepreneurs is tremendous. The outreach by the PENTA and the Taco Bell teams is gracious. The teachers and students enjoyed the authentic learning experience they received.”