Editor's note: This version corrects the name of Perrysburg senior Taylor Houpt.
Becky Byrd, right, jokes with one of her senior students during DECA class at Perrysburg High School.
Rows and rows of trophies surround students in Becky Byrd’s Perrysburg High School classroom in recognition of her current and former students’ work, but the upperclassmen are more concerned with the class projects that give back to the communities.
Last year, her two-year marketing class raised $1,300 in two days through T-shirt sales and donations following the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting. The students also helped a blood drive and volunteered at local kitchens to help feed the hungry.
“In this class you know you are not just here for yourself, and it is not just about you getting a grade,” senior Madison Creps said. “You are giving back.”
Mrs. Byrd’s course for juniors and seniors is one of eight sessions sponsored through Penta Career Center that earns students 11 college credits through Owens Community College and follows a standardized curriculum developed by DECA.
DECA, formerly the Distributive Education Clubs of America, is an international association that prepares emerging leaders and entrepreneurs in marketing, finance, hospitality, and management in high schools and colleges.
“We’re building leaders,” Mrs. Byrd said. “My students [can] succeed in whatever careers they choose — business, marketing, or even medical.”
Before Mrs. Byrd took over Perrysburg High’s marketing class eight years ago, it was a sports-marketing course, but she wanted to broaden it.
The awards around the classroom are from DECA competitions, in which students are given a real-life business situation or problem that they must analyze in a short time and then prepare a presentation. Last year, students brought in more than 40 district awards at DECA competitions, 37 members went to state competitions in Columbus, and three students placed third in state competitions.
A current class project is creation of a board game that will be test-marketed to a second-grade class. The students must create the game, packaging, and a logo, determine a price, and develop a sales campaign.
“I can apply things from class in everyday situations,” senior Taylor Houpt said.
Each student in the class must have an after-school job to provide further opportunity to observe, if not cultivate, marketing skills. The young Houpt said working has helped her with customer service.
Mrs. Byrd works with students on filling out job applications, interviewing, and assembling resumes. She also talks about time management, communication skills, and finances — the latter including credit management.
Perrysburg graduate Annie Rutherford, now a freshman Bowling Green State University marketing student and president of DECA Ohio, said she would have never considered the field before taking Mrs. Byrd’s classes.
“From my sophomore to senior year I’m not close to the same person,” the Perrysburg class of 2013 president said. “I have a second family and second mom [Mrs. Byrd]. I found that I have a passion for public speaking, and I know now that marketing is what I want to do.”
“Before this class I would have never volunteered. Now I do two times a week,” young Houpt said. “I think this class strives for helping others. It makes you feel good.”