BY JEN CARDINES
Southington High School’s DECA program is gearing up for the upcoming Connecticut state competition taking place on March 13 at the Aqua Turf, and they mean business.
Under the leadership of their advisors Sandra Spinello and Teresa Brooks, 24 SHS students participated in mock competitions and practice tests throughout February to better prepare for the big competition.
Local businesses met with the DECA club and acted as judges, while the students were put through mock competitions similar to the upcoming challenge. They spend a lot of time working on these projects because they know the stakes are high.
“The top three winners in each event will be eligible to go to Anaheim, Calif. in late April to compete at DECA’s International Career Development Conference,” Spinello said.
DECA is an international association of marketing students that prepares emerging leaders and entrepreneurs for careers in marketing, finance, hospitality and management in high schools and colleges around the globe.
The SHS group will be among 1,000 high school students from all across Connecticut when they arrive next Monday. The all-day competition has been held at the Southington venue for the last several years due to its large capacity.
The competition includes individual and team events in different categories. Some participants have to take tests or do written reports, while others give presentations. Spinello said it is an “on your feet” day and performance criteria isn’t distributed until that day.
DECA students work year-round to better their business and marketing skills. They attend state and regional leadership conferences, participate in competitions, and manage the DECA store at the high school.
“Operation of the store is co-curricular and students in our marketing classes have the opportunity to work as part of their class experience and participation in a real world store operation,” Spinello said.
DECA officer and senior student Hunter Forrest is the store manager. He is responsible for ongoing monitoring of inventory and ordering from vendors, coordinating the scheduling, morning opening and preparation, and ongoing store management.
These projects enhance the learning experience and prepare students for college and careers in the marketing and business fields.
Students are hopeful that they will place at the state competition. By doing a promotional community service campaign, SHS earned three spots for the Anaheim conference. Those spots are not for competition, but students who are chosen by the advisors can be involved in the leadership conference.
Those students are not yet chosen, because the spots will depend on competition results.