By Mike Schuh

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Seventh graders at Roland Park Elementary/Middle School spent a semester coming up with a viable business and a plan to make them successful.

Mike Schuh met a girl whose idea succeeded beyond anyone’s expectations.

You’ll have to listen very closely to a sound coming from inside Roland Park Elementary/Middle. During downtime, eighth grader Lily DeBell knits.

“Even if people think it’s a little unusual, that’s OK. I’m doing something I really enjoy,” Lily said.

Then last year, when Lily was in Mr. Sanzenbacher’s entrepreneurs class, she had an idea.

“She has this zest for life, and that is what really makes her a special student,” said Karl Sanzenbacher, 7th grade teacher.

About that time, her little sister–a dancer–had a problem.

“She needed new leg warmers because hers were falling apart and not working for her,” said Lily.

Her organic wool leg warmers were a hit. She made more and more, and her mom had a suggestion:

“I sell through Etsy and I’ve made I think somewhere in the range of 50 sales,” she said.

Etsy is a website to sell handcrafted things. Lily’s Etsy business fit well into business class.

“She had some ideas and she refined it and came up with a wonderful business model,” Mr. Sanzenbacher said.

His class is tied into a national competition. How did Lily do?

“It was clear to everybody in that room. Yeah. She was so authentic with it,” said Kate Palmer Britton, NFTE National Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge. “Both knowing her business inside and out and having a great plan and loving it.”

She won first place.

“I got a prize of $25,000, which is scholarship and then business expenses,” Lily said.

If her business expands, she plans to pay retirees.

“I’ve had three people say they’d be willing to work for me and there are 20 senior centers in and around Baltimore. I want to build a bridge of five of them to help me find labor,” she said.

Her leg warmers are available on the website Etsy. She has hopes to attend Baltimore School for the Arts next year.

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