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Oak Harbor DECA delivers at nationals

Oak Harbor DECA students who finished in the top 10 in a national competition in Anaheim, Calif. last month (from left to right): Maddy Mosolino, Carter Saar, Gabe Groenig, Drew Washington, McKenzie Schneider, Megan Durhkopf and Jillian White.  - Ron Newberry / Whidbey News-Times
Oak Harbor DECA students who finished in the top 10 in a national competition in Anaheim, Calif. last month (from left to right): Maddy Mosolino, Carter Saar, Gabe Groenig, Drew Washington, McKenzie Schneider, Megan Durhkopf and Jillian White.
— image credit: Ron Newberry / Whidbey News-Times

They couldn’t get through the cafeteria without a shout-out.

“Ooh DECA Nationals! Yeah!” yelled a student.

It was obvious by the medals around their necks that the seven Oak Harbor High School students had garnered some recognition around school for their recent success at the DECA International Career Development Conference in Anaheim, Calif.

And one student let them hear it again.

“DECA is a giant club at the high school,” Jillian White said. “That kid is in a marketing class. He knows about DECA.”

It’s not uncommon for Oak Harbor High School to send a large group of students to the national competition each year.

What was special about the Oak Harbor trip in late April, however, was the number of Wildcats who advanced to the finals.

“We’ve never had seven kids be in the top 10 and finals,” said Eric Peterson, DECA advisor at Oak Harbor. “This really has been an awesome year.”

For most students, the DECA Club at Oak Harbor represents an opportunity to help run the student store and apply what they’ve learned in marketing classes.

DECA, on a more broad scale, is an international student organization that helps students develop skills and competence in marketing careers.

For others involved in DECA, it’s an opportunity to compete.

Oak Harbor’s top competitors at nationals were: seniors Maddy Mosolino, Megan Durhkopf, McKenzie Schneider and White, juniors Gabe Groenig and Drew Washington and sophomore Carter Saar.

Some competed in role-playing competitions involving business strategies in front of industry professionals.

Mosolino made the the finals in the event of Restaurant and Food Service Management (top 20 out of 240 competitors). She wound up finishing second.

Washington, Groenig and Saar competed in a computer-based simulation called Virtual Business Sports and finished fifth. They created their own professional football franchise, which they called “Swerve.” They competed in a tournament-type bracket that included three rounds of head-to-head competition. They had to run the sports franchise while making decisions about promotion, pricing, staffing and sponsorship for their team, city and stadium.

The team of White, Duhrkopf and Schneider participated in the School Based Enterprise competition. They made a presentation in front of judges on the best practices for the Oak Harbor student store, “Grab ‘N’ Go.”

They talked about ways the student store promotes products as well as what they learned by working at the store.

Running the store is part of taking the “Retail Management” class at Oak Harbor.

“I turn the register system over to them,” Peterson said. “They handle all the accounting. The kids do everything. I just try to keep the ship going in the right direction.”

Peterson said his DECA students had to apply their skills even before they went to nationals.

While funds from the student store help pay for the trip to nationals, Oak Harbor’s DECA students found themselves $5,000 short.

Peterson said students reached out to the community, including the Chamber of Commerce and Oak Harbor Rotary, and made presentations to raise the money needed.

Groenig is glad he joined the club for its networking benefits.

“I just continue to meet new people,” he said.

 

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