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Published on March 14th, 2016 | by Millennium Magazine Staff


District Five students, teacher earn top awards and titles at state DECA competition

Pictured: Spring Hill High School DECA State winners.

CHAPIN – A group of Lexington-Richland School District Five students and their teacher earned top honors in this year’s state DECA competition.

All 20 students with the Spring Hill High School chapter earned awards, and ten will head to the national competition after securing top five finishes in their divisions recently. Norma Brown, a marketing teacher who leads the school’s DECA, also was named state Advisor of the Year for 2016-17 during the event in Charleston. The DECA International Career and Development Conference will be held in Nashville April 23-26.

“We are so proud of our students…They’ve worked hard and this is the result of doing what you’re supposed to do,” Brown said. “When they started their work, many of them didn’t feel like they could do it or that their ideas were big ones. But with guidance and dedication from them, they were able to turn ideas into something they can really be proud of…and that’s what DECA’s all about. It teases out their natural skills and abilities and gives them that boost of confidence to know that they have accomplished something great.”

An international association of high school and college students and teachers, DECA is focused on preparing marketing, management and entrepreneurship students in the areas of business, finance, hospitality, and marketing sales and service. This year’s state competition was held February 26-28.

Spring Hill High School state DECA awards include: 1st Place Entrepreneurship Innovation Plan (Cassidy Mattingly and Joanna Haines, Alta Moda – Boutique for Tall Girls), Gold Award (Cassidy Mattingly and Joanna Haines, Program of Work), 2nd Place Community Service Project (Brianna Kennedy and Zoe Miller, Pink Out for Breast Cancer), 2nd Place Independent Business Plan (Hayden Tuten, Hubble’s Farm), 2nd Place Start-Up Business Plan (Hunter Bristow, Fast and Furious – Gas to Electric Car Conversion), 4th Place Public Speaking (Xavier Williams), 4th Place Advertising Campaign (Katelyn Johnson and Haley Watson, Awesome Duct Tape Wallets), 4th Place Marketing Communication (Gabby Howell and David Clark, Team Event), Top 10 Buying and Merchandising (Vanessa Johnson and Michael Smalls, Team Event), Top 10 Entrepreneurship Innovation Plan (Corinth Kershaw, Josie Canty and Julia Jones, Thompson Load and Lock) and Top 10 Sports and Entertainment Marketing Series (Saurin Desai).

“We want to congratulate all our students on their awards,” said Dr. Michael Lofton, Spring Hill High School principal. “The hard work and quality projects they showed at the state DECA competition are examples of what our students at Spring Hill do best. Working with others, being academically focused and youth inspired is the Spring Hill Way and we are so proud of Ms. Brown and the DECA chapter.  The real world experiences that the students are gaining through DECA will give them a jump start on the many great things that I know they will do in their lives.”

Brown, who earned the state DECA advisor or the year award, has led DECA groups at several District Five schools. She started her DECA and Marketing and Entrepreneurship teaching at Irmo High School, where after two years she was voted as Teacher of the Year and later honored as the South Carolina Marketing Education Teacher of the Year. She began the DECA program at Dutch Fork High School when the school opened and was later voted the 2012-13 Dutch Fork High School Teacher of the Year. At Spring Hill High School since it opened in 2013, Brown started the program at the Career Pathways magnet school.

“I’m grateful and humbled by the award but more proud of what our students have been able to do,” she said. “The ultimate prize for me was seeing the students names called for these prizes, especially the ones that didn’t think they could do this.”

Many of the students have turned their ideas into real businesses and possible patents. Others have discovered that they have ideas that can become more, Brown said.

“That’s what I’m most proud of,” she said. “Many of them said ‘I can’t do this…I can’t create a business.’ But we don’t give them that option. We tell them they will do this. They can do this. They are surprised at what they accomplished and proud in the end…but we knew they only needed a little push.”




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