Joe Parone casually perches at the edge of a table set up for interviews in the Distributive Education Club of America (DECA) classroom on the campus at Payson High School (PHS). Before him sit a dozen students in the beginning business education class.
Later in the day, students will role-play with Parone to create a marketing plan for an expo featuring baby products.
The elective offers students real-world opportunities to learn skills and an understanding of the theory behind business.
“How does business contribute to society?” he asks the mostly sophomore-level students.
“Creates jobs,” said Justice Owens.
“Yes. The people I employ spend their money, which helps the town. What else?” asks Parone.
The next student mentions taxes. Parone launches into an explanation on how taxes fund schools, roads, and town services.
“Are you starting to see the role business plays in society?” he asks.
The students nod and murmur in understanding.
Parone teaches the business track of electives at PHS. He came to Payson from New Jersey to retire, but found he missed the classroom. The high school hired him full time after a stint as a substitute.
Parone bases much of what he does on DECA, a program he was introduced to when he taught in New Jersey.
DECA started in 1946 with the mission to “prepare emerging leaders and entrepreneurs for careers in marketing, finance, hospitality and management in high schools and colleges around the globe.”
The organization has chapters in every state and nine foreign countries. For high school students, DECA offers educational programs and conferences to prepare students for college and careers. The organization also grants scholarships.
Part of the DECA approach includes going into communities to create partnerships with businesses and organizations.
Take for example the partnership DECA has with the Payson Roundup. The publisher lectures to the students on how the business side of the newspaper works. Then he gives them the chance to sell advertisements in an insert the paper publishes on the classes the high school offers. The proceeds from the sales pay for the publishing, printing and distribution of the insert, with the remainder of the proceeds help the business students.
This year, the class sold 41 ads for the spring schedule insert.
Class today does not focus on community projects; rather Parone spends time preparing students for a DECA business conference in Phoenix at the end of the week.
“Remember, you will be given a case study and 20 minutes to prepare and 20 minutes to present,” he reminds the students.
The table at the front of the room is set up as an interview desk.
Two students, Niyal Curi and Justice Owens have already prepared their presentation for this case study. Parone presents the scenario to the other students so they understand the case.
“Niyal and Justice will present a marketing plan for the Babytime Expo,” said Parone.
The two will present a marketing plan to Parone that they hope will bring paying customers, national chains and local businesses to an expo on baby products.
Curi and Owens come up to the interview desk, shake Parone’s hand and sit down to start the presentation.
“We were thinking of this for a Babytime Expo logo,” said Owens showing Parone the idea, “We want more local and national exposure on TV.”
“We could start running ads on the local Fox 10 station,” said Curi.
“We think a marketing budget of $80,00 would be good,” said Owens, as he laid out the marketing strategy.
Parone listens carefully, nodding his head and murmuring in understanding.
“This year, we don’t want the local companies to be sad with us because we’d like to keep the locals happy,” said Owens.
Parone asks if the organizers should take into consideration what the attendees want.
“We can’t make all attendees happy,” said Curi.
After they end their presentation, Parone goes over a few points. He praises the students for their research, good presentation skills and clarity. Then he gave constructive criticism on areas he felt Curi and Owen could have improved. Their focus on pleasing the locals, Parone felt, would not interest the national brands, which would affect results.
“Last year, attendance was low so the organizers opened it up to national brands. Now you told me the exact opposite,” said Parone.
After a brief discussion on how to improve, the two presenters felt ready to compete at the competition in Phoenix at the end of the week.
Payson Business Students win awards at Phoenix Conference
Payson students won 33 awards at the Arizona DECA Central District Conference in Phoenix on Jan. 12.
Competing against 900 other students in events designed to test their marketing, sales, production planning and promotion skills, the students won trophies and awards.
“I’m proud of them,” said Parone.
Students participate in partnered or single events and take a written exam.
Sitting with up to two judges, participants present a plan to boost sales, attract customers or streamline production. Judges award points on how clearly students communicate, how they organize information and respond to questions, said Parone.
For Niyal Curi and Justice Owens, this year marked their second Phoenix conference. They had partnered up last year, but this year they won more points than before.
“We got a higher score, an 89,” said Owens.
While the two did not receive an award for their presentation, they did win a medal for their scores on the written exam.
Students who won trophies for their overall performance include: Arianna Paulson, Jordyn Fruth, Nick McMullen, Eric Vohs and Tanner Hintze.
Winning medals for the written test were Bethany Sprinkle, Fawn Dugan, Kyle Marshall, Joe Davis, Laura Slatalla, Amanda Harnell, Hayli Egbert, Karen Williams, Ernesto Hendriz, Arianna Pualson, Tyler Peters, Will Dougherty, Dylan Karsten, Shayna Neal, Justice Owens, Dillon Walker, Jordyn Fruth, Nick McMullen and Tanner Hintze.
Students who won medals for role play included: Karen Williams, Ernesto Hendrix, Arianna Paulson, Kayla Purcell, Jesse Barry, Tyler Croy, Jordyn Fruth, Nick McMullen, Tanner Hintze and Eric Vohs.