DECA students prepare for state event

Andy Olson and Kurtis Fenton have been working on their advertising campaign for months. They working to pitch a series of ads — print, radio and television, along with a year-long run schedule — to Northern Wave, a company that specializes in extreme sports gear.

The catch?

Olson and Fenton are juniors at South Kitsap High School (SKHS). Both are marketing students and members of the Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA), an international leadership club with a high school chapter at SKHS. They creating the advertising campaign as part of DECA’s international competition and have already qualified for the state competition after competing against DECA students from 27 other schools at the regional, or area, competition in Silverdale last month.

“We identified with the target market,” joked Fenton, explaining why he and Olson picked Northern Wave, a real company, on which to base their mock campaign.

According to SKHS marketing teacher and DECA advisor Shana LaMar, students create the projects in their marketing class and have the option of joining DECA and competing with them.

Olson, Fenton and 27 other students will compete against other Washington-state high school students at the Maidenbower Center in Bellevue in March. The international competition will be held this spring in Dallas.

There are a variety of categories under which students can create original projects, including entrepreneurship, food marketing, sports and entertainment marketing, advertising, fashion promotion, technical sales, e-commerce and community projects.

“The purpose of DECA is to build future business leaders and entrepreneurs,” said LaMar, who has a degree in business worked in the corporate world before pursuing a career in teaching.

In addition to competitions, DECA students spend many an afternoon organizing events to inform other students about DECA. DECA students at SKHS kicked off their yearly “DECA Week” on Friday after planning a variety of events for the week and the upcoming year to draw their fellow peers such as open houses complete with pizza, field trips, fundraisers and community service.

“I’m so proud of these students,” LaMar said. “The amount of work they’ve accomplished this year shows how committed they are to making DECA a success for other students.”

DECA began almost 56 years ago with the goal of improving education and career opportunities for students interested in careers in marketing, management and entrepreneurship.

According to DECA’s Web site, the organization has grown to over 185,000 students in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Canada, Guam, Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and Germany.

For more information on DECA, visit

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