Business-savvy students crushed the competition at DECA's Suffolk Regional Competition Jan. 4, and the small group of accomplished high schoolers intend to do the same at the state level in March.
Eight Bayport-Blue Point High School teens, representing grades nine through twelve, competed against other county DECA chapters at the regionals earlier this month at Suffolk County Community College (SCCC).
All eight DECA members placed at the regionals and received plaques for their efforts. The group was surprised by their success, and continue to cultivate their skills. Member Ryan Ball, a junior, said he plans to minor in business in college.
"A background in business is good to have," Ball said. "You can learn how to market yourself."
This is the first year students participated in the DECA Club under the advisement of business teacher Doug Monsell, who spoke very highly of the team.
"This is a really good group of kids," Monsell said. "They have their heads screwed on, they're thinking about their futures."
DECA's mission is “to prepare emerging leaders and entrepreneurs for careers in marketing, finance, hospitality and management in high schools around the globe.”
The students think they can take on the rest of New York at the state competition in March, where they will each go on a mock interview.
"They will either have to sell an item or interview for a specific job," Monsell said. "They're going to apply their speaking skills and ability to socialize; the [state] competition really involves the skills of marketing and merchandising."
Tenth grader Emily Larsson, who placed in the Principles of Marketing category at regionals, said the group's success at SCCC motivates them to do well at states.
"Now going to states we have the confidence we need," she said. "I'm excited for the interview part."
The group will likely meet once a week leading up to the March competition, as they center their meetings around events, according to Monsell. It's difficult to gather the busy group every week on a normal basis. A majority of the team will miss AP classes, sports and other school activities while they are up in Rochester, NY for the states March 6-9, but these highly involved students are commited to DECA.
If B-BP DECA's success at the regionals was any indication of how they will perform at states, the team won't be coming home empty-handed.
"They all understand they've got their lives ahead of them and they're going to have to work," Monsell said. "They seem to know what they want to do with their lives."