DHS program wins state title

Published 12:00 am Sunday, July 13, 2003

The Demopolis High School Career/Tech program has received the Marketing Education Program of the Year Award from the Alabama Career/Technical Education Professional Development Conference.

School officials will receive the award July 23 in Mobile.

The career/tech program at DHS including the DECA student club has an emphasis on business/marketing and is lead by teacher Lucinda Mason, a 20-year veteran at the school. She feels it is "the best job in the school."

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The school teaches a sophisticated curriculum of marketing strategies including purchasing, selling, advertising, information management and financing. The DHS career/tech program tries to give students a realistic view of business, she said.

In addition, "contrary to most career/tech programs in your bigger cities, just about all of my students go on to college," Mason said. Ashley Rogers, who graduated with the 2003 DHS class, got three scholarships through DECA.

The program has an advisory committee composed of local business persons.

During the last school year, DECA students were working with 18 local businesses. The students must commit to 280 hours each at the business for the school year, she said. They get early release from the school day to go to work.

DECA used to stand for Distributive Education Clubs of America. The curriculum has changed to marketing education, but the name has remained for simply an association of marketing students.

They initiated two business surveys last year, one for Colony Office Products and one with Omni Sports. "The kids turn those into projects that they send in for competition," Mason said. "Both of those particular projects last year won at the state level and got to compete in international competition."

They also work with the Demopolis Area Chamber of Commerce on projects.

DECA students compete on a regional, state and international level. The highest finish has been second place at the international competition, she said. No one placed last year, but four teams received certificates of excellence.

The next major career/tech programs close to Demopolis are Meridian, Tuscaloosa and Selma. There were 52 in the DHS program during the 2002-2003 school year.

Any business interested in being involved with the DECA program should call Mason at DHS. "We’re going to have some kids really looking for jobs this fall," she said.