The humble lemonade stand is, for many children, a first and often tart introduction to the world of business and finance, success and failure.

The humble lemonade stand is, for many children, a first and often tart introduction to the world of business and finance, success and failure.

Sophomore and junior business students at Northland High School will be bringing a new twist on the old beverage sale concept when they introduce "Lemonade Day" to Columbus on May 1 at the Mall at Tuttle Crossing.

"Lemonade Day is a nationwide event that teaches kids the skills they need to be successful in the future," according to the website of the Houston-based organization. "Youth learn to set goals, develop a business plan, establish a budget, seek investors, provide customer service and give back to the community.

"Lemonade day is the perfect opportunity for a community to show kids they care and train the next generation of entrepreneurs through a free, fun, engaging, experiential activity," the website states.

NHS business instructor Jaime Elledge said last week that having her students participate in Lemonade Day is part of a broader effort to involve them with the community, particularly the local business community.

The students are all enrolled in the "High School of Business," an initiative of the Columbus-based MBA Research and Curriculum Center. Those who successfully complete a total of eight classes under the program are eligible for five college credits at Columbus State Community College or the Central Ohio Technical College in Newark, according to Elledge.

"They don't get that it's a big deal yet," she said.

High School of Business started at Northland last year, Elledge said, but the teacher became ill and was eventually forced to retire. Elledge underwent training and is now shepherding the juniors who got started earlier and the sophomores who are now in their second course, focusing on wealth management.

That's where Lemonade Day comes in.

Groups of Northland High students setting up lemonade stands in Tuttle Mall might not generate such enormous wealth that it needs a lot of management, but they might produce a nice contribution to either a charity of their choice or possibly a scholarship.

During a teleconference last week, Elledge and her students heard from Julie Eberly, chief expansion officer at Lemonade Day National Headquarters. The event was created by the nonprofit organization Prepared 4 Life, which Michael and Linda Holthouse founded in 2005.

This was after Michael Holthouse sold his business to Sprint for $400-million, Eberly told the students.

From a mere 2,000 students selling lemonade in 2006, the program had grown to 38,000 young participants by last year, according to Eberly.

Sales of lemonade last year brought in $4.2-million, of which $1-million went to charities chosen by the children.

"This is huge," Eberly said.

She predicted that the entire Columbus community would be watching the NHS business students, working in conjunction with students from Woodward Park Middle School, as they launch the local Lemonade Day.

In addition to involving her young charges in the beverage sales effort, which involves budgeting and marketing and many other aspects of entrepreneurship, Elledge has set up a steering committee of NHS administrators and Northland business people to introduce the students to some real-life experiences.

One of the requirements of the High School for Business curriculum, the teacher said, is for each student to participate in a 20-hour internship during senior year. This must be, she said, with a "real" business person, not a relative or friend.

"We want the community to know about us because they're involved," Elledge said. "I also want to do away with the stigma attached to Northland High, make it known for something other than basketball."