Reynoldsburg High School student LaShina Rhynehardt earned first place for her international business project during a statewide DECA competition March 20 in downtown Columbus.

Reynoldsburg High School student LaShina Rhynehardt earned first place for her international business project during a statewide DECA competition March 20 in downtown Columbus.

Rhynehardt, daughter of Sonja and Anthony Rhynehardt, competed against 25 other Ohio students in the international business project category.

DECA is an association that aims to help marketing students develop the skills they need for successful business careers.

Rhynehardt presented a business plan to open a Walgreens store in New Delhi, India, a country she said she believes would need a retail store and pharmacy.

Her 30-page report dealt with what it would take to open the store in India, which she said involved researching the culture as well as what products would best suit consumers there.

Rhynehardt drew on her own experience as a two-year employee of the Walgreens at the corner of Brice Road and Scarborough Boulevard in Reynoldsburg.

"With India being a growing country, I knew that would be the best place for it since they also need pharmaceuticals," she said. "You have to have different products there to make sure it caters to the Indian population. They use American products and they also use a lot of herbal products (the store) would mainly be set up to cater to the demographics there."

Rhynehardt's business plan involved the company teaming with an Indian company, Glaxo Smith Kline Pharmaceutical Co.

She said said she thought her idea was extra special because it involved a business that offers products as well as services, such as pharmaceuticals.

"Health care service is really big now and it is something that India is lacking," she said. "I feel the business plan is what India really needed right now."

DECA adviser Kim Pennycuff said she is proud of Rhynehardt's accomplishment at the statewide DECA competition.

"I am impressed with the abilities that she has," Pennycuff said. "Using the resources that she has, she came up with the idea of what country would be good to expand that business into.

"She's a great great kid and I can't say enough good things about her. She has a really great future ahead."

Rhynehardt said she plans to attend The Ohio State University and study business and Spanish. She recently was awarded a full four-year scholarship through the Morrill Scholarship program.

She said she currently holds a 4.02 grade point average and scored a 25 on her ACT test.

Rhynehardt said she would like to start her own nonprofit organization to expand schools and education for underdeveloped Spanish communities.

Pennycuff said Rhynehardt and fellow RHS students Jennifer Mason and Mariah Scott will attend the International DECA Career Development Conference April 24-27 in Louisville, Ky. They -- along with 15,000 students from around the nation -- will compete for a portion of more than $300,000 in scholarships offered through DECA.

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