Reynoldsburg's BELL Academy DECA students cut the ribbon on their new school store, The R Spot, last week.
Marketing/business instructor Kim Pennycuff said the store was formerly located in the HS2, the Health, Science and Human Services Academy, and was moved to accommodate the academy structure, since DECA student classes are in the BELL (Business, Education and Leadership & Law) Academy.
"The store was remodeled and moved to the main hallway in what we call the Raider Rock area," she said. "We now have a location for students to gather and collaborate on projects.
"The school store is a hands-on laboratory for DECA students," she said.
DECA is a marketing/business program that teaches business and entrepreneurial skills. Pennycuff has been leading Reynoldsburg's DECA program for more than 15 years. She said 17 high school juniors and seniors are members this year.
Statewide DECA membership stands at more than 5,000 students, she said.
The Reynoldsburg chapter has a state officer, senior Pope Lake, who is state vice president of leadership.
Reynoldsburg's DECA students must raise $20,000 to attend this year's International DECA Conference April 24-27 in Anaheim, Calif., Pennycuff said.
"We use profits from the school store and also conduct various fundraisers to help raise money to attend the conference," she said. "We sell entertainment books and are having a Superhero Princess Breakfast on Feb. 9."
Pennycuff said the Superhero Princess Breakfast in February is geared toward families and children and will offer a menu of pancakes, eggs, sausage and bacon in the Livingston campus cafeteria, 6699 E. Livingston Ave.
In addition, she said Reynoldsburg DECA students will be campaigning at the state DECA conference, to be held Nov. 8 at the Columbus Convention Center.
"The students are campaigning to help Pope become elected president of Ohio DECA," she said.
DECA students also work on various projects for local organizations and firms, researching problems or coming up with plans for improvement, she said.
"This year, we are working with BELL Academy, promoting the different opportunities students will find at BELL, including DECA and early college credit classes," Pennycuff said.
"We are offering college credit for DECA through Columbus State this year," she said. "Students would have to complete the curriculum, then take a test on what they have learned."
She said DECA students are evaluated on meeting deadlines and other aspects of each project and must present their projects at a capstone event before a panel of educators at the end of the year.
"We will have people from the educational and business community on the panel -- whoever is most likely to be a stakeholder in the project," Pennycuff said.
She said DECA is a valuable program for students interested in business or marketing. "The program provides hands-on learning about learning about business and it is fun, which helps keep students interested and is what I like best about it," she said.
The group maintains a Twitter account at twitter.com/DECAatrhs.