Eleven students with the Smith-Cotton Chapter of Missouri DECA are preparing their bright ideas for international competition and are looking to the community for a little help.
The honors follow big wins after 25 S-C DECA students traveled to the state competition March 17-19 in Lake Ozark, where students pitted their business and marketing ideas against those of 1,650 fellow Missouri students. DECA adviser Amanda Mills told the Democrat her students are excited about their wins after “a lot of hard work on their projects.”
“We are one of the largest DECA groups in the state,” Mills said. “And we have some really dedicated members.”
During their Lake Ozark trip, students Cameron Harris, Lyndsey Jackson, Keegan Kendrick, Kelsey Webb, Tayler Gero, Zach Wolf, Megan Lollis, Joseph Rodewald, Elena Sharp, Mike Pugh and Trey Napier walked away with invitations to the International DECA Career Development Conference scheduled for April 23-28 in Anaheim, Calif.
Mills said her students claimed those honors based on a range of projects including community service and public relations projects designed to raise awareness and promote fundraising for Child Safe of Central Missouri.
Students also nabbed honors for entrepreneurship and management of an online virtual business, Mills said.
Youthful business partners Wolf and Kendrick, both seniors, used their Buzzpro Advertising business — which sells advertising on five public benches spread out across town — to secure honors in the Entrepreneurship-Growing Your Business category.
The business, originally launched by Wolf during his sophomore year, continues to draw clients and made a profit of about $2,000 since August of last year.
Kendrick told the Democrat Monday afternoon that their competition category requires that students own and operate a business licensed through the state. Their DECA project involved a five-year plan to expand and grow their business.
“We are really excited for Anaheim; we expect to do pretty well,” Kendrick said. “There are not a ton of people in this event so we feel like we have a pretty good chance of making it to finals.”
The pair plan to continue operating Buzzpro after they graduate and are looking to expand their offerings to include folding chairs that would be available for free to use at public events and private parties.
“People could use them for free, but we would make money from people buying ads to place on them,” Kendrick said.
Mills said students are organizing fundraising efforts beginning this week to help earn the $1,000-per-student cost of the Anaheim trip.
“While we are extremely excited about this experience; it is also very costly to our students,” she said.
Colton’s will donate part of its profits to the group from sales at the restaurant between 5 and 9 p.m. today. Students will also be guest carhops at the 2800 S. Limit Ave. Sonic location on Friday and will work for tips at 10th & Thompson Car Wash through the day on Saturday and Sunday.
“That is just this week. We will have some more things planned next week,” Mills said. “Plus we are working on student sponsorships where they go to local businesses and organizations to secure sponsors for their trips.”
People who would like to donate may send their contributions to Smith-Cotton DECA, 2010 Tiger Pride Blvd., Sedalia, MO 65301.
For additional information, contact Mills at 660-924-8124 or firstname.lastname@example.org