LAFAYETTE - Ascension Episcopal School students will have the opportunity to learn one-on-one from Acadiana’s leading entrepreneurs as part of the school’s new Institute for Business Education that launches in August.

The institute is part of the Upper School and will tap into the resources of the business community and the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, said David Pitre, head of the Upper School.

Pitre said the elective program, designed for juniors and seniors, offers “a specialization within our existing college preparatory curriculum.”

Local community and university experts will serve as guest lecturers to offer their insight and help students develop “21st century entrepreneurial skills,” Pitre said.

Internships with local entrepreneurs are part of the program.

“This is not going to be classroom theory,” Pitre said.

Study topics will include ethics, business law, technology and the global economy.

The curriculum was developed with the consultation of Paula Carson, a ULL management professor and assistant vice president for Institutional Planning and Effectiveness.

The school met the challenge of building a unique program because most high schools design business curricula to prepare students who are career-bound rather than college-bound, Carson said.

The institute’s curriculum lays the foundation for students to excel in college business programs, she said. Entrepreneurship is embedded throughout the curriculum, she added.

“It’s not just a curriculum, but an experience,” Carson said.

Students will be offered immersive experiences within the local business community through internships and by mentors, she said.

In the future, the plan is to develop agreements with colleges so students can earn college credit for their institute coursework, Carson said.

The institute was part of the original vision for the high school among its benefactors ? the majority of whom are representative of the business community ? who felt students should be immersed into the “macro aspects of business,” said Mike DeHart, a member of the school’s board of governors.

Students will have the opportunity to learn firsthand from the community’s leading entrepreneurs who will share “what made the difference for them to build their businesses,” DeHart said.

DeHart said some business leaders who initiated the institute concept include oil and gas entrepreneur, Toby Dean; jewelry manufacturing entrepreneur Matt Stuller; and real estate developer Robert Daigle.

The lectures will be practical and also focus on how to learn from failure, said DeHart.

“How to take a bad experience and capitalize on that bad experience,” said DeHart, who is president of the Stuller Family Foundation.