A Rogers High School School-based enterprise is one of 166 in the United States to be awarded a gold level certification or by the Distributive Education Clubs of America.
Gold-level recipients are eligible to compete in DECA’s upcoming International Career Development Conference in Anaheim, Calif., in April.
Rogers program adviser Paul Stoltenberg said this year’s award marks the school’s fifth recertification.
School-based enterprise endeavors typically are school stores that are managed and operated by second- or third-year business and marketing students, Stoltenberg said.
“SBEs are effective educational tools in helping to prepare students for the transition from school to work or college,” he said. “For some of the students, the school store is their first work experience. For others, it provides an opportunity to build management, supervision and leadership skills.”
Rogers High School has operated its school-based enterprise for more than 30 years, Stoltenberg said. The store sells clothing, Rams logo gear, lattes, non-carbonated beverages and school supplies. Profits help to fund Associated Student Body and DECA activities.
“And, as with any socially responsible business, it also gives back to its community by sponsoring the school’s robotics club,” Stoltenberg said.
Stoltenberg’s class of seniors is split into two teams that switch every two weeks. One manages the store while the other learns about non-retail businesses.
The store team is organized similarly to a retail business with a general manager, department heads and human resources. Students’ grades are tied to meeting store profitability and sales targets.
To be considered for a DECA award, students must provide 40 to 90 pages of documentation and meet performance indicators for each aspect of the store’s operation, including developing a business plan, managing and handling cash, balancing books and supervising overall operations. Written documentation is then submitted to DECA, which has heaquarters in Reston, Va.
Students Aimee Bach, Connor Mattson and Zack Kay worked on the certification documentation and will compete in Anaheim, where they will provide a 15-minute presentation based on their submission to a panel of judges during a series of competition rounds. Winners from each round will move on to the finals.
All agree that the skills they gain in the program will serve them well in the future.
“I learned that managing a business is not as easy as one might think,” said Kay, who is planning a business career to incorporate his interest in finance.
While business is central to each of the students’ future plans, their areas of interest differ.
“I want to combine my art and design skills with business,” said Bach, the store’s promotion manager.
Mattson is intrigued with the entrepreneurial aspects of developing a business.
DECA advisers have used SBE as a powerful learning lab for more than four decades. The certification program was developed to provide recognition for outstanding achievement school-based enterprises and to motivate students to strive for excellence and growth.
DECA is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit student organization that prepares its members for careers in marketing, management, finance and hospitality. It has nearly 200,000 members nationwide and operates in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, Guam, the Virgin Islands, Canada, Germany and Mexico through charters held by each state or province’s department of education.Linda Henry is a freelance reporter for the Herald.