Hundreds of high school DECA and FBLA members attend Business Skills Academy, competition at KCC
Henley High School DECA members Andrew Wilcher and Dylan Huynh had 15 minutes to come up with a marketing plan that would increase book donations at the Perry Public Library.
“Our biggest restriction is we weren’t allowed to give money in return (for donations),” Wilcher said. “The underlying challenge is coming up with an incentive to get people to donate.” They came up with an extension of due dates and a competition – a system that publicly recognizes top donors.
Kenneth DeCrans, student body president for Klamath Community College who judged Wilcher and Huynh, was impressed. “I might actually use some of their ideas for stuff I’m working on,” he said with a smile.
Wilcher and Huynh were among 20 Henley DECA chapter members and more than 150 DECA and FBLA students from high schools around the Klamath Basin and southern Oregon who participated Tuesday in 11th annual Business Skills Academy at Klamath Community College. The event was a joint effort between Klamath County School District business teachers; and KCC, headed by Erica Dow, community education, and Linda Davenport, business management technology. Luke Ovgard, DECA chapter advisor at Henley High School, was in charge of the DECA competition.
Jazmin Hall, a 2017 Mazama graduate and former FBLA chapter member, also helped with the event. She is studying accounting and business management at KCC, and credits her success to FBLA. “FBLA definitely helped me choose what I wanted to do and helped me reach my goals,” she said.
FBLA and DECA students had separate competitions, practicing the testing and presentation skills they will need for upcoming regional and state competitions. Area FBLA chapters and business programs attending included Mazama, Lost River, Bonanza, Gilchrist, New Horizons and Tulelake.
The Business Skills Academy offered more than 10 different workshops for students on topics with enticing titles including “Why the toughest person you’ll ever lead is yourself and how to do it with success,” “Leading through Adversity,” “S.P.E.A.K.! Advice on public speaking, finding your voice and becoming comfortable with an audience.”
While the Henley High DECA chapter competed with high school chapters from Phoenix, North Medford, South Medford, Crater and Armadillo Technical Institute, FBLA students from around the Klamath Basin were in an adjacent building, testing and competing in impromptu speaking, marketing, sales, business and client services.
DECA and FBLA are both student business and leadership organizations with local chapters and state and national officers. Both organizations teach high school students leadership skills, goal setting and project management and prepares students for careers in marketing, finance, hospitality, management and entrepreneurship.
Brandon Gailey, a freshman at Mazama High School, joined FBLA to improve his presentation and business skills. He competed Tuesday for the first time.
“I was a marketing agent for a company that wanted to help raise $500,000 for a charity,” he said, adding that he was tasked with coming up a charity and a plan for funding the donation.
“I had to present for seven minutes,” Gailey said. “The hardest part was when I ran out of material and I still had two minutes left … it’s awkward.” But, he added, he learned a lot. “I’m getting better. Those seven minutes helped a lot.”
Meanwhile, Henley seniors Anna Edwards and Madison Garlitz were trying to figure out how to reconfigure a membership program structure for a performing arts center that would increase profits. Edwards is president of Henley’s DECA chapter; Garlitz is vice president of education.
“I like competing,” Garlitz explained. “It’s opened up a new side of me. I’m able to express myself more. It really transforms you from a quiet person to one who can speak to a whole room.”
Wilcher, who competed earlier promoting library book donations, agreed. “I think you learn the most in your first role play,” he said. “It’s pretty much trial by fire, but the fire’s not that hot.”
Press release provided from the Klamath County School District.