Schenectady County

When life sprains your ankle, make lemonade

An eighth-grader is getting a crash course in economics this week in an old-fashioned way — selling
Erin Maloney, 14, right, and Sujea Harris, 13, pour lemonade for Katie Vasilyev of Schenectady at the intersection of Jay Street and State Street in the city on Wednesday.
PHOTOGRAPHER:
Erin Maloney, 14, right, and Sujea Harris, 13, pour lemonade for Katie Vasilyev of Schenectady at the intersection of Jay Street and State Street in the city on Wednesday.

An eighth-grader is getting a crash course in economics this week in an old-fashioned way — selling lemonade.

Sujea Harris, 13, was supposed to be at Schenectady’s downtown basketball camp on Wednesday. But she was sidelined after hurting her ankle, and it seemed her only choice was to sit out, watching 30 other teens play ball.

Her father suggested another way for her to help the team. She could raise money.

The children need to raise $300 to pay for their jerseys — which they got on the first day of camp

at South Avenue Park — as well as money for basketballs. Harris’ father suggested she try to raise $250 this week while her ankle heals.

That’s an awful lot of lemonade, but there she was, gamely sitting in the sun downtown with a colorful poster describing “FREE LEMONADE for ANY DONATION to support BASKETBALL!”

Business was good — a line three people deep formed at times, as Harris poured lemonade and her friend Erin Maloney scooped ice. But the donations idea seemed to be the weak link in her business plan — sometimes a full cup went for a dollar, but just as often it went for 25 cents. After half an hour and lots of customers, they had raised just $13.

Harris soldiered on.

“We need like $250, because the jerseys cost $10 each and there’s like 30 people,” she said, clearly a little off in her math. “I was there but I couldn’t play. We decided it would be a good thing to do.”

She was out working on Tuesday as well, when she raised a whopping $143.

That’s more than enough to pay for her share of the camp, but she said she doesn’t plan to quit until she hits her goal or her ankle heals.

“It helps everybody in the camp,” she said.

If her dedication is impressive, consider Maloney, who isn’t on the team and has no interest in joining. She suffered through the heat just to keep Harris company.

“I said I’d do it because … I’m a good friend?” she offered. She glanced at the time — two long hours left before they could quit for the day — and sighed. “A really good friend.”

Harris argued that the outdoor work was better than anything else they could be doing to while away their time.

“You’re not just sitting around wasting time watching TV. And you’re doing it for a cause, you’re not just doing it for yourself,” Harris said.

“And you get free lemonade,” Maloney added.

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