The Pinkerton Academy chapter of DECA, the national organization for marketing students, has increased six-fold since last year, from 11 active members to 69, and sent 51 of those students to a state competition.
Amanda Weishaar, DECA adviser, has high hopes for those 69 students as they prepare for their next competition and their futures.
While Weishaar, a new teacher, said she had “no idea” why the group has mushroomed, DECA President Danny Boulter, a senior from Chester, chalked it up to the oldest of all marketing tools: word of mouth. “We got new people and they got new people,” he said, adding, “And also the personality of Ms. Weishaar.”
The State Career and Development Conference was held Feb. 11-13, Weishaar said. In addition to the 15 first-place wins, the chapter also brought home the “Outstanding Chapter of 2015” designation.
Of those 51 students, 15 placed first in their respective categories, according to Weishaar, One, Amelia Milonas, a junior from Hooksett, was elected as a state DECA officer and will represent New Hampshire on the state level.
And Boulter, Milonas and the other 13 students will represent Pinkerton in the Development Conference for Emerging Leadership April 23-29 in Orlando, Fla.
Weishaar said the club is also for students interested in finance, general business and travel/hospitality.
Students winning first-place honors on the state level are:
• Jared Bach and Liz Bonilla, Buying and Merchandising;
• Alan Mendonqua, Gabby Leitgeb and Devin McMahon, Entrepreneurship Promotion Project;
• Gabby Leitgeb and Devin McMahon, Travel and Tourism;
• Cyrus Champey and Matt Barnes, Advertising Campaign;
• Kyle Hicks and Tom Diskin, Sports and Entertainment Promotion Plan; and
• Ashley Ianuzzi and Julia Payne, Entrepreneurship.
Students also placed in the “role play” and “testing” categories, including;
• Pat DeCloux, third place for his Marketing Exam;
• Jared Bach, first place for his Marketing Exam;
• Devin McMahon, first place for her Hospitality and Tourism Exam;
• Cyrus Champey, third place for his Marketing Test; and
• Kyle Hicks, first place for his Marketing Exam.
“We learn a lot and we have fun doing it,” Boulter said of DECA.
As president of the chapter, Boulter will be attending seminars at the Florida event. He said he’s not nervous, but rather excited. “I want to become an entrepreneur and own my own business,” he said. “I want to take the risk.”
The DECA members and Marketing II students run the school store, Campus Corner, in the basement of the Shepard Building. “They come in one period a day and work here,” Weishaar said. “They do the ordering, the reporting, the inventory, the sales.”
Recent merchandise included Pinkerton sweatshirts, hoodies, jackets, tote bags, water bottles, key chains and wristbands. The DECA students also repackage Otis Spunkmeyer cookies and sell them in twos to their hungry classmates.
The clothing is a top seller, particularly heading into the 201st anniversary year of the school, Weishaar said. “Around Christmas we were open extra hours, and we were doing $1,000 of sales every night,” she said. “We had to restock.”
DECA was previously known as the Distributive Education Clubs of America.