Five Reynoldsburg High School students placed in the top five at the district DECA contest with eight named as state qualifiers.

Five Reynoldsburg High School students placed in the top five at the district DECA contest with eight named as state qualifiers.

Kim Pennycuff, business and marketing instructor at BELL Academy, said 30 DECA students competed Feb. 11 at the district contest at Easton Town Center.

"The students competed in various events, individually, as a team and also in prepared projects and presentations," she said.

She said the first step for the state qualifiers was to post high scores on DECA's online test in January.

During the competition, students had to think on their feet to solve a business problem.

"They presented a role play for a problem or an opportunity to solve a business or marketing problem," she said. "Some students were given a product or situation ahead of time to create a presentation, so they also took a test and then made presentations before a judge."

Pennycuff said a typical role play problem might be how to handle an irate customer or how to improve a product brand.

The senior state qualifiers are: Justin Hamilton, fourth place in sports and entertainment marketing; Aaliyah Boyd-Ivey, fourth place in quick serve restaurant; Elijah Camara, second place in professional sales; and Nia Coleman and Aliyah Smith, second place in marketing communication team.

Sophomore Christian White qualified by placing second in business finance and juniors Brett Patterson and Maysa Shalash qualified with second place in principles of business administration and principles of marketing, respectively.

"Nia Coleman and Aliyah Smith received a 100 score from both judges in their role plays, so I think they did particularly well," Pennycuff said. "I have rarely seen a 100 out of 100 score."

Other students placing in the top five in their categories were the junior team Nick Bertrand and Isaiah Curtis; juniors Kristina Kostevski and Ema Papic and senior team Xavier Colon and Rachel Phillips, along with senior De'Ante Jones.

Pennycuff said the Ohio DECA Career Development Conference and contest will be held March 14-15 at the Greater Columbus Convention Center, the Hyatt Regency Ballroom and at Veterans Memorial, where the grand awards will be presented.

She said DECA groups will be celebrating the 70th anniversary of Ohio DECA.

"The alumni of DECA have been asked to come to celebrate with the current DECA members and leaders," she said. "T-shirts and ties will be the favors for the event.

"I have heard that we will be going for a Guinness World Record of the most people tying a tie at the same time at the Friday night event, which will be held at the Hyatt Regency," she said.

Pennycuff said her students are working on research projects for several local businesses, including Target.

"Students select their own businesses, but the topic is given by DECA and is used in class to learn about research," she said. "The topic this year is to research the branding of a company and either make recommendations to improve it or to change it."

DECA students also participate in community service projects, such as the Super Royal Breakfast held Saturday, Feb. 15, at the high school's Livingston Avenue campus.

Pennycuff said the students dressed up as super heroes and Disney princess characters and raised $250 for Ronald McDonald House.