DECA Makes it Nashoba’s Business… Feb. 10, 2016

Nashoba’s DECA program officers and members (back row l-r): Business Teacher Michael Murphy, Harrrison Ashline, Stavros Andreopoulos, and Matt Allaire. (front row, l-r): Brianna Murphy, MaryKate Magliozzi, Emilia Bernasconi, Tess Anderson, and Cayla Murphy. (Not Pictured: Officers Mike Curtin and Brianha Gilchrest).                               Ann Needle

Nashoba’s DECA program officers and members (back row l-r): Business Teacher Michael Murphy, Harrrison Ashline, Stavros Andreopoulos, and Matt Allaire. (front row, l-r): Brianna Murphy, MaryKate Magliozzi, Emilia Bernasconi, Tess Anderson, and Cayla Murphy. (Not Pictured: Officers Mike Curtin and Brianha Gilchrest). Photo Ann Needle

The popular DECA chapter at Nashoba Regional High School continues to bring real-life business and marketing education to the high school’s students.

This year, Nashoba DECA has students working with some familiar local businesses and organizations in building the competitive edge that has taken the club to national success.

In terms of numbers, Nashoba DECA is a clear winner. Nashoba DECA President Tess Anderson reported that, after its mock presentations in December at NRHS, the group went on to the district competition to take some first-place finishes in several categories, with the top six competitors heading to the state
competition of the nation-wide DECA student organization in Boston in March. And, as in past years, everyone is hoping someone makes it the national competition, with 12 members going there last year, said Nashoba DECA Advisor and Business Teacher Stavros Andreopoulos.

Even if no one goes to the national competition this year, the club’s popularity continues to grow, thanks partly to the visibility these competitions provide. Andreopoulos said Nashoba is up to 147 members this year (of those, 106 qualified for the state tournament), “And we seem to gain 20 members at every stage [of the competitions].”

Andreopoulos pointed out that, for the prizes available to competitors, DECA calls for members to pour in their share of sweat. In this year’s marketing tournament, each competitor or team must produce a poster marketing a business or organization they have selected, along with a 30-page paper laying out the marketing campaign.

Meanwhile, members are tackling some impressive real-life challenges through their DECA projects. Among these, Tess Anderson reported she is working with The Paper Store in Acton on fresh ways to market and update its departments, especially in fashion. Lancaster’s Emelia Bernasconi outlined how she is assisting The International in Bolton to motivate its employees, with such recommendations as putting in a dedicated break room and hosting monthly employee meetings.

Andreopoulos mentioned that other Nashoba DECA projects this year are also being worked on with businesses that include Clinton Savings Bank, BOSE, and TD Bank.

Breaking New Ground with Buddies
Meanwhile, Nashoba DECA used December’s mock presentations to launch a unique program already adopted by several other DECA chapters. Anderson explained that Nasoba DECA worked with Nashoba’s Best Buddies chapter to assist some of its members in building their own marketing campaign.

The challenge for Best Buddies/DECA participants (students with learning disabilities) was to both design and market a roller coaster, Anderson said. She lauded the enthusiasm Best Buddies brought to the project, with Best Buddy Gwen Burke of Stow presenting the final project. She noted that several DECA chapters elsewhere compete at each level in the Best Buddies category, and Nashoba DECA plans to prepare its Best Buddies to officially enter competitions beyond NRHS.

Not surprisingly, the growth of Nashoba DECA has paralleled the emergence of NRHS’s Business Dept. Andreopoulos recalled joining the NRHS staff as a part-time Business teacher, but is now full time, with another teacher hired for the department this year.

What Andreopoulos said he would like to see more of is volunteer involvement from local businesses. The December mock competiton was judged by 42 business leaders, all recruited from the ranks of NRHS parents and the local community.

Though Andreopoulos remarked that the possibility of traveling to tournaments and fun with peers is a selling point to potential members, he agreed with students that there is something more. Commented Anderson, “Class presentaions are so much easier after DECA.” And, Stow’s Mary Kate Magliozzi termed DECA tournaments as “an exprience that gets everyone out of their comfort zone.”

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