Students at a small Southwest Michigan high school are learning about big business.
They're members of Bridgman High School's DECA, an organization for students interested in marketing.
They just won a grant for a $1,000 as part of Martin's Supermarket's One School at a Time program.
Several of these kids are competing for a chance to go to the international level.
These sharp dressed students at Bridgman High School have a plan, more like a business plan.
“I really enjoy marketing,” says Bridgman High School Senior Kevin Ramso.
Senior Kevin Ramso is a member of DECA, an association of marketing students that prepares students for the real business world with competitions.
“We get to shake a lot of hands, do a lot of networking at DECA events,” Explains Ramso.
That's because the judges are real professionals, often company execs who know the ropes.
“They know that experience is the best teachers so they can tell you what ideas are good, what ideas need a little adaption, they know what the environment is like especially in our area in Michiana,” explains Ramso.
“We have 19 going to state,” says DECA Advisor Christine Davis.
Advisor Christine Davis is proud of her students; she knows they're headed for great opportunities.
“I have students all across the country that I still keep in touch with that are in business, marketing, advertising, and doing really well,” Davis says. “I have students in New York, California, Chicago and they had a jump start when they went in.”
These kids are getting a jump start with the one school at a time grant.
“The money will go primarily to their competition,” Davis explains. “The competitions are expensive, but they're well worth it.”
“Oh we were thrilled, we spent so much money and time going thru pop bottle drives, going thru all this stuff, just to have this it's so helpful,” says Bridgman High School Junior Colleen Ferguson.
Through DECA, Colleen Ferguson has learned helpful strategies for companies.
“You realize a small company they don't have a lot of money to spend,” says Ferguson. “And you have to do with it what you can. You have to look more toward social media, than going on a newspaper let’s just say. It’s just as effective too since so many people are on it nowadays.”
A lesson learned by future business executives.
“It gives you the real world experience that the classroom can't totally give you,” Ferguson explains.
The students will travel to Grand Rapids on March 15 to present their plans at the state level. That's when they find out if they'll advance to the next level. We wish them the best!
You can nominate your school for a One School at a Time grant.
The winning school gets $1,000 from Martin's Supermarket, and a new winner is picked each month.
Schools only need to apply once, and you can do so by going to michianaschools.com.