Riders Excel At Event

ST. MARYS — Junior and senior marketing students at Memorial High School competed in the Ohio DECA Career Development Conference on March 15 and 16 in Columbus.

DECA Adviser Heidi Lisi took 23 Roughriders to the competition, and had a total of 10 groups and individuals place in the top 10 in their events. Typically an event has 40 or 50 students competing from area schools, Lisi said.

One group consisting of juniors Matthew Alexander and Zack Wilker finished first in their event, “Financial Services Team Decision.” The two took a finance and marketing test and completed a scenario or role-play where they are given a business situation and had to come up with an analysis and plan as to how to proceed. They then presented this to judges.

At their turn to present, participants are placed in front of those judges in a large room with several other event presentations going on. They are given 30 minutes to read the case, discuss it, and prepare what they will say to judges. Another team that placed in the top 10 in their event included juniors Bailey Gottschalk and Kelsey Rohrbach. The students’ event was called “Financial Literacy Promotion Plan,” and they organized several finance programs throughout the St. Marys school district.

One such project, all of which they prepared ahead of time, was to present to 2nd graders about several topics including the difference between financial needs and wants and saving money. They also did an e-pal program with fifth-grade students where they corresponded through email about the same kinds of topics, but geared more toward the fifth-grade level.

The two also organized a program at the middle school level, Lisi said, called “Real Money, Real World,” a one-day seminar where students are assigned jobs and a salary and have to come up with a budget.

“They had a representative from Superior Federal Credit Union come to the junior and senior marketing classes to talk about budgeting,” Lisi said.

Along with these numerous projects, Gottschalk and Rohrbach wrote a 30-page paper and presented the information to the judges. Although they did not move on to the national competition, they received a medal for placing in the top 10.

Juniors Mara Whetstone and Maria Hastreiter took part in the “Learn and Earn” event, where they analyzed one of the Memorial High School DECA chapter’s fundraising projects and write a paper on its organization, the money that was earned, and what was learned from the fundraiser. This event was also prepared before the state competition and presented to judges that weekend.

Seniors Kelly Heitkamp and Paige Dicus competed in an event called “Buying and Merchandising Team,” and they were also in the top 10 in this event.

Junior Paige Morris went solo in her event, “Entrepreneurship Participating.” Morris had to prepare a paper ahead of time, where she came up with an idea for a business and a business plan to present to judges. Her idea, Lisi said, was to create a daycare facility. She placed in the top 10 as well.

Senior Steven Axe also tried his hand at presenting alone for his event, “Hospitality Professional Selling.”

“He had to assume he was a tour operation in the Caribbean and had to organize a sales demonstration for the cruise line to purchase (excursions and activities) from his company,” Lisi said.

Axe placed in the top 10 in this event.

There was one team of Roughriders whose project was so detailed and in-depth that it was submitted directly for consideration at the International Career Development Conference, the next level of the competition, which will take place April 24-27 in Anaheim, Calif. This project, completed by seniors Tyler Rose and substitute team member Kelly Heitkamp consisted of the completion of a 60-page write-up on the school store. The write-up explained every aspect of that business, including sales, security, operations, and more. Only five schools in the state of Ohio received gold level certification on this type of project, which is the highest given, Lisi said.

“I was very excited with the results,” Lisi said. “That’s the first time I ever had juniors finish in first place at state. I’m very proud that they worked so hard (to get there).”