Reynoldsburg High School students received a big boost recently when Reynoldsburg Best Buy employees won a company contest and decided to donate $5,000 to the DECA program.

Reynoldsburg High School students received a big boost recently when Reynoldsburg Best Buy employees won a company contest and decided to donate $5,000 to the DECA program.

Kim Pennycuff, DECA adviser and marketing teacher, said Intel and Best Buy representatives presented the check to students Nov. 30.

"We were extremely excited to be chosen by Best Buy and Intel for this award," she said. "We dressed in our best with DECA blazers and ties and the students wrote speeches about our gratitude.

"The donation will be helpful to us in the purchase of technology for learning and to help defer student out-of-pocket expenses to participate in competition at the state and international level."

Pennycuff said her students want to attend both the Ohio DECA conference in Columbus and the international conference in California. She said the conferences are important ways DECA students can participate in professional learning.

Students must raise $20,000 to attend the international conference, Pennycuff said.

Myles Striver, representing Intel, said employees from Best Buy in Reynoldsburg won second place in the company contest, so they could choose where they wanted to donate $5,000.

"This was one of our biggest contests as far as combined prizes go," he said. "I thought it was a great decision to give the donation to the DECA program. The kids were very excited. They also got a nice plaque and letter, so they will have the reward to reflect back on.

"I hope they are learning that if you work hard and show passion about what you do, that good things happen," he said.

Pennycuff said her students are "highly motivated" to use the latest technology in their DECA projects, which include coming up with business plans for local businesses and operating their school store, the R Spot.

She said 17 juniors and seniors are members of DECA this year and the chapter has a state officer, senior Pope Blake, who is state vice president of leadership.

DECA student classes are in the Reynoldsburg BELL (Business, Education, Leadership & Law) Academy at the Livingston campus.

"DECA members have been working in their retail lab and specializing in customer service, promotion, finance and accounting," she said. "We are planning for the upcoming district competition at Easton Town Center on Jan. 30 and also planning an informational assembly for human trafficking and sexual assault."

She said DECA students already have raised $150 for Gracehaven, a safehouse for victims of human trafficking.

"We will bring in a victim who speaks with groups to educate students to know what to avoid and look for, as well as how to make a difference," she said.

The group will also host a superhero/princess breakfast from 8 a.m. to noon Feb. 9 at the Livingston campus.

Pennycuff said Chris Cakes will flip pancakes at the event and there will be numerous activities for children.

"Profits earned from that event will also be used to help defer student out-of-pocket expenses to attend conferences and competitions," she said.

Pennycuff said students are being offered college credit for DECA classes through Columbus State Community College this year.

She said the program provides hands-on learning about business and marketing.

Pennycuff has been leading the DECA program for more than 15 years.