Despite the pandemic, some high school students are still taking part in after-school activities, virtually. DECA leads the way for Coon Rapids students, who are interested in business and marketing.
“Today is our November 18, Wednesday DECA meeting,” Blake Bodenburg told DECA students as he started the virtual meeting. Bodenburg is a business teacher at Coon Rapids High School and has been involved with DECA, as a program advisor, for over 20 years. He says students in DECA have become like family, who miss each other when they are apart.
“We try to build a lot of confidence in our students in what they do,” said Bodenburg. “We challenge them, we push them a little bit out of their comfort zone.”
Last spring, the pandemic stopped Coon Rapids High School’s DECA program from sending members to the International Conference.
“We had a number of DECA members, (ten) who qualified to attend the International Conference in Nashville and that conference got cancelled."
And although DECA students are doing less, because of social distancing, there are still lots of opportunities.
DECA was recognized at the Coon Rapids City Council meeting this week. Two students from the program spoke at the meeting and pitched the food drive, which goes through November. DECA students rely on social media to get their messages out.
DECA members were in-person at the high school on Tuesday for the entrepreneurship week challenge. The students came up with the idea of a face mask that can turn into compost.
“We’re trying to pitch this to a customer,” said senior Josie Ingvaldson who is the current DECA Chapter President. “We’re filming it, and inserting research on different types of masks and how they biodegrade,” Ingvaldson said.
One reoccurring project for DECA is a marketing campaign with Forever Floral in Coon Rapids.
“It’s really fun,” said Jackie Bockwitz, owner of Forever Floral. Bockwitz serves on the DECA advisory board for both Coon Rapids and Anoka High School. The Forever Floral challenge for students is to design a punch card for customers.
“So it’s kind of a little competition between the schools and between the students,” Bockwitz said. “And they design the cards, proof it, tweak it, and get the cards we use for that year.”
The punch card entitles customers to a bouquet of flowers each month. The only produce 300 cards.
“We use that as a fundraiser for our Chapter after,” said Emily Holloway, who is the vice president of civic consciousness for Coon Rapids DECA. “So first it starts out as kind of a learning experience and then it turns into a fundraising experience.”
Forever Floral lets the students keep 100% of the money they raise from the fundraiser. And just like a family, DECA students have come to rely on each other, in-person and virtually.
“We tend to all have equal responsibility and try and help our Chapter as much as we can,” Holloway said.
Bodenburg added, “It’s about them leading their own activities and that leadership is so vital to their success and their future.”
November is also membership month for DECA. The Coon Rapids Chapter has set a goal to get at least 20 more students into the program for business and marketing opportunities.