Riders Advance

ST. MARYS — Local high school students recently participated in a regional competition this month, with many of them moving onto the next level — the state level — in Columbus.

Memorial High School students in DECA — or Distributive Education Clubs of America — attended the District 3 Fall Career Development Conference held Feb. 1 at Bluffton University.

“We have 30 kids going to state,” DECA adviser Heidi Lisi said, noting the state level is optional for her students, and an additional three of her students who qualified are not attending.

She added some of her students did not compete at the district level for their event — some of the DECA events begin at the state level.

“We had a total of 41 students compete at districts, and there were 13 schools plus us,” Lisi said.

At the Bluffton conference the following students took home awards: Senior Cierra Anderson, senior Mitch Fowler and senior DJ Manning took home first place; junior Adam Neal, senior Taylor Grant and junior Cory Steinbrunnner took home second place; junior Garet Fledderjohann, senior Sara Lininger and junior Steven Axe took home third place; junior Makayla Buehler, junior Chloe Mitchell, junior Derrick Lauth and junior Austin Slife took home fourth place; junior Carolina Castillo, senior Ryan Douglas, junior Molly Albert, senior Ashleigh Falk, senior Ashley Hale, junior Sarah Mabry, senior Alex Dammeyer, senior Mitch Speckman, junior Taylor Young, senior Brooke Slife and junior Chris Swanson took home fifth place.

Lisi noted the competition for each event varies by the type of event.

For Young’s Apparel and Accessories Marketing, Fledderjohann’s Quick Serve Restaurant Marketing, Steinbrunner’s Principles of Marketing, Neal’s Principles of Hospitality and Tourism, Axe’s Hospitality Professional Selling, Lininger’s Restaurant and Food Service Marketing, Fowler’s Business Finance, senior Ryan Wilker’s Marketing Management, Anderson’s Retail Merchandising, Manning’s Business Services Marketing, Grant’s Professional Selling and Dammeyer’s and senior Nathan Michael’s Business Law and Ethics Team state events, the students have to take a 100-question test and a case study, where they have 10 minutes to prepare and then 10 minutes to present their ideas to a panel of judges.

For Castillo’s, Douglas’s and Brooke Slife’s Community Service Project, Albert’s and Falk’s Creative Marketing Project, Hale’s, junior Noah Hartsock’s and Mabry’s Learn and Earn Project, junior Paige Dicus’s and junior Kelly Heitkamp’s Hospitality and Tourism Operations Research Project, junior Luke Leffel’s, junior Tyler Rose’s and Swanson’s Sports and Entertainment Options Research Project and senior Alexandria Spencer’s and senior Scott Spencer’s Business Services Operation’s Project state events, the students have to have a 20 to 30-page written report and a presentation with visual ids given to a panel of judges, and they will prepare the report and presentation before the state conference and then have 15 minutes to present their project.

Mitch Speckman, JD Meyer and Seth Fitzgerald also qualified for the state competition — which will be March 16 and 17 in Columbus — but they are unable to attend.

“There is one project that gets submitted directly at the national level because it is such a huge, in-depth project,” Lisi noted.

That project is called School Based Enterprise, and this year, Anderson, Fowler and Wilker submitted a 65-page document critiquing the school store, The DECA Depot — including information on the product mix, promotions, finances and store layout.

“They received the highest level — Gold Certification,” Lisi said, adding the students were one out of 35 schools in the nation that received Gold Certification. “We’ve never had anyone do it before — last year was the first opportunity because last year was the first year we had a school store.”

By receiving that award, the three students are eligible to present to a panel of judges at the International Career Development Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah, which will be from April 27 to May 2, where they have the chance to win a Top Presenter Award for the event.

To prepare for their state events, the students will be practicing up until the competition, Lisi said.

“Depending on the event, they will take practice tests on their event, they will present sample case studies, they will present to their classmates, they will present to me and I will evaluate them,” she said. “For the written projects, they will spend time researching to prepare their documents and practice their presentations in class. We’ll do peer evaluations, and I’ll do evaluations. We may get other people to come in, and they can practice their presentations for them.”