High school students make DECA transition more seamless

Staff photo by Grace Pecci Samantha Meyers on Friday helps a student at Fairgrounds Middle School with a game the four high school students created to teach the students about running their own business.

NASHUA – In an effort to bring more awareness to Nashua High School North and South’s Career Technical Education Programs, Director of Nashua Technology Center South Mike McQuilkin and four DECA/ Marketing students, Elana Finkelstein, Samantha Meyer, Jecca Riley and Alexis St. Laurent visited Jean Godlewski’s DECA class at Fairgrounds Middle School.

The DECA is a career and technical student organization with members across the world who have the opportunity to pursue a career in the business world. DECA prides itself on preparing “emerging leaders and entrepreneurs in marketing, finance, hospitality and management in high schools and colleges across the globe.”

McQuilkin said he will be visiting all the middle schools in Nashua to have conversations with the students to show them the options that will be available to them once they attend either of Nashua’s high schools.

McQuilkin said he and the four students visited Fairgrounds Middle School to increase the career technical education (CTE) program’s exposure and let students see the different paths that are available to them. McQuilkin said he had been shocked in the past to see how many middle school students didn’t know the CTE programs existed, and this prompted him to make a change. He said he aimed to expose

students to the programs by taking small steps, which include visiting the three middle schools in Nashua (Fairgrounds, Elm Street and Pennichuck), teaching students what the CTE programs are all about, and then once course selection time comes around, meeting with teachers.

Fairgrounds Middle School DECA teacher Jean Godlewski said she believes very strongly there needs to be an alignment/connection with the middle school and high school curriculum. Godlewski took the career technical path herself, completing the welding and sheet metals program at Shawsheen Valley Technical High School.

Marketing student Samantha Meyers said she wished she had known about the CTE programs when she was in middle school.

Myers, along with the fellow marketing classmates, made a presentation for the DECA class. They also had the students participate in an interactive “make it or break it” activity. The game was used to teach students about new DECA vocabulary and taught them how to operate a successful business. In the activity, students had to answer different questions to determine if they would lose or gain money (based on their answers). Students broke into groups and worked together to complete the activity.

McQuilkin said they will continue to work to become active in all of the middle schools in Nashua.

Grace Pecci can be reached at 594-1243, or gpecci@nashuatelegraph.com.