Although Rajendra Hariprashad was in the Marines, his most trusted weapon—the one that launched him into private enterprise as a business owner—was not a rifle, but a 1998 Mitsubishi Eclipse. During his four years of service, he taught students behind the wheel of his own compact sports car. When he was discharged and went back to New York, he shelved law-enforcement career ambitions and opened Ena's Driving School.
Today, the school teaches road safety to new and seasoned drivers alike. Along with prelicensing and defensive-driving classes, instructors lead motorcycle, CDL truck, and CDL bus lessons. Rajendra's business savvy and entrepreneurial acumen have won him press in Forbes, Fox Business, USA Today, and other media outlets. He even partnered with truTV's Impractical Jokers to prank students who were behind the wheel for the first time. Afterward, several neighbors and new customers called to inquire about classes and how to fit a spring-rigged banana-cream pie into the glove compartment.
Rajendra's law-enforcement career continues to remain on hold. "I'm lucky," he says about his driving school and other business ventures. "This is fun. I want to be in the open road."
With its bright yellow walls speckled with Disney decals and bright stickers, Fun Time Pottery invites artists of all ages and skill levels to work in a cheery, creative atmosphere. During open paint sessions, participants choose a piece of pottery from the overflowing shelves that line the room, using stencils and paints to add their own personal touches to plates, mugs, and figurines. Pottery classes let students delve into the intricacies of clay shaping, with instructors teaching their charges how to bring forth new objects from shapeless lumps of clay, and how much paprika to add to play-doh before it’s edible. After finishing their sculpting, pupils learn how to paint and glaze their works, creating unique keepsakes from start to finish.
At Joe’s Music & Dance Academy, students of all ages benefit from expert instruction in a variety of instruments and dance styles. Teachers lead private lessons for instruments that range from piano and violin to guitar, bass, drums, voice, and most orchestral instruments. For aspiring Astaires, dance instructors helm programs for students of all ages in disciplines such as ballet, jazz and hip-hop, tap dance, and musical theater. Joe’s also offers students myriad opportunities to collaborate and perform together in the form of music and dance recitals, jazz ensembles, and workshops.
ALOHA (Abacus Learning of Higher Arithmetic) is a mathematics tutoring program that was originally developed for Malaysian children. Small group classes meet after school for step-by-step instruction from a qualified teacher or sentient abacus. The program has more than 3,000 centers in countries such as India, Thailand, Philippines, China, Australia, New Zealand, Oman, and UAE, and it was introduced to the United States in 2006. It also offers tutoring in reading and writing.
Creative Study Zone helps middle-school and high-school students develop an arsenal of academic skills. During standardized exam-prep courses, teachers lead lectures and conduct group exercises designed to improve test-taking strategies. Students also complete practice tests created by the College Board and review fundamental concepts in reading, writing, math, and spitball shooting. The center’s afterschool homework program helps students complete daily assignments while also providing motivational support, and private tutoring offers one-on-one instruction in a range of academic subjects.