Source: Sherman Publications

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Creative, talented, enthusiastic
Business club readies students for a world after school

by Gabriel L. Ouzounian

April 20, 2011

Front from left, seniors Alexandria Johnson, Jennifer Chevrier, Shannon Inglis, Sarah Gidell, and Katie Wirsu. Back from left, Junior Tyler Jackson, senior Jessie Smude, junior Ian Schlitt, Seniors Jordan Hill, Victor Arribas, Kiley Edwards, junior Garrett Ackner, seniors Megan James, Tyler Failla, Julia Basso, and William Wharton.
Around 20 students at Lake Orion High School are getting a head start on their business aspirations.

DECA, an association of high school marketing students, is preparing for an international comptitions, which begin on April 28. Out of the 23 members that competed in a state competition in March, 19 placed, while eight earned a spot at the upcoming international tournament - a record for the high school.

LOHS Business and Marketing Instructor Julia Dalrymple said the club offers students a chance to apply knowledge learned in business classes.

"These kids are the future, and they are so creative, so talented and so enthusiastic about the work they do," said Dalrymple. Referring to what is required at the competitions, she said "what the students come up with is incredible. They're given a case and have to come up with a full presentation with visual aids in 10 minutes, 30 minutes for teams.

"They have black and blue pens, and so little to work with, but they come up with something, and I try to show them that even a little extra can be the difference between them and the competitor behind them. I want these kids to find success, and this program helps them find that."

Besides the competitions, students involved in the DECA club at the high school go on a number of field trips, including visiting business experts in New York, Lansing, and Detroit. On Monday, they visited Fox Theatre, Joe Louis Arena, and Comerica Park to hear marketing speakers employed at these locations talk about what is expected of them in their day-to-day work.

Dalrymple said these field trips broaden students horizon and knowledge.

"I find a lot of the time new members don't think their's a whole lot of diversity out there in the field of marketing," said Dalrymple. "These field trips help show them there are a ton of different aspects of being a marketer and to give them the opportunity to see more tan what's in Lake Orion.

"It doesn't alway have to be a desk job."

Associate Principal Chris Bell is also involved in the DECA program, and believes it to be a powerful addition to the teachings offered at LOHS.

"It provides a great experience to kids that have business interests to apply their skills outside the classroom and allows them to compete," said Bell. "They also get the opportunity to start getting contacts in the business realm.

"DECA is a outstanding extension of the vocational education offered here, and all I can say is that we're very proud of the kids and the success they've had."

DECA is one of two business clubs at LOHS, the other being Business Professionals of America. DECA once stood for Distributive Education Clubs of America in the 1950s and 1960s, but as the program grew and evolved, the acronym stuck when the original meaning of the words no longer applied.