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Fairgrounds Middle School DECA team wins award

Courtesy photo Fairgrounds Middle School’s DECA team recently earned the 2019 Outstanding Middle School DECA Chapter Award.

NASHUA – Fairgrounds Middle School students recently earned the designation of 2019 Outstanding Middle School DECA Chapter Award.

On March 14, Jean Godlewski, a FACS teacher at Fairgrounds Middle School, took 23 eighth grade students to the annual DECA Middle School Spring Conference to compete at a state level against other schools, which was held at New England College. Along with the 2019 Outstanding Middle School DECA Chapter Award, the group also walked away with eight other top three placings in different categories within the competition. The group received recognition in three categories. The first was the State Exam, which consists of vocabulary and terminology that students in the DECA program should be familiar with. The timed exam consists of 25 questions for students to answer surrounding finance, marketing, hospitality, entrepreneurship and other terminology. One Fairgrounds student placed in first and another placed in third.

Another event was the List Event Challenge. Two groups of Fairgrounds students placed first in both the sports theme of the competition and the fast food theme.

The final part of the competition in which Fairgrounds Students placed high was the Marketing and Presentation Challenge. This challenge was a team-based challenge where students had half an hour to take whatever theme they had, whether it be sports, fast food, or charity and come with a whole marketing plan and then present it to judges.

In this event, Fairgrounds teams placed as followed:

1st place – (sports theme)

2nd place – (fast food theme)

3rd place – (fast food theme)

2nd place – (charity organization)

The students prepare for the competition during their class. The DECA class is a 60-day, trimester class. Students also go through an exposition where they work with partners to create their own business plans. They chose their own subject, the prototype they plan to build and then create their own presentation, which is accompanied by a tri-fold poster. In addition, the students will typically have three different competitions throughout the year, along with workshops.

Godlewski attributes the success of the DECA team this year to the way she groups her students. She tries to make sure trimester three students (students who are in her DECA class now) are paired with trimester one and two students (students who took the class earlier in the year), so that those students can take on a leadership role, allowing for the newer students to get right into action.

“It worked beautifully, we did really well,” Godlewski said.

Godlewski said they won the 2019 Outstanding Middle School DECA Chapter Award because the students are so active in what they do.

Godlewski also spoke of the importance of vertical alignment between the middle schools and high schools in the district.

“I have been a big advocate in school alignment so that our middle school students hear what is also going to happen once they move up to the high school and educating them on those resources that we have in our city and in our school district,” Godlewski said.

Statewide, she said she would love to see the DECA programs blossom, foster and grow. She added that she would like to see more middle schools involved, as there are so many benefits that come out of participating.

“The skills they are taught in DECA are skills that we all need in life,” Godlewski said. Some of these skills Godlewski teaches include giving a firm handshake, knowing how to tie a tie, answering the phone professionally with a positive attitude, asking questions during an interview, knowing where to search for jobs and preparing handwritten thank you notes.

“The more students practice, when they go out to the real world to get a job they’ll know how to do it,” Godlewski said.

In fact, the assignment of the day Thursday for Godlewski’s students was researching for jobs. Her students were required to find a few job ads in the newspaper and a few from credible employment websites. The students are getting closer and closer to the age of being able to work. Godlewski said skills like the ones practiced in her class this week are life skills that her students need to be taught.

“I really do feel like we are setting them up for success,” Godlewski said.

Godlewski also added, “We are very fortunate to offer this course at Fairgrounds Middle School.”

Eighth graders Grace Harris, Caroline Berube, Kylie Cosgrove, Andrea Ruiz and Margaret Wagner were five of the 23 students who recently participated in the Middle School Spring Conference. All five gave positive reviews of their experiences.

Harris said she thought the competition was really fun and interesting.

Cosgrove said, “I really liked (the competition). I thought I had a good group and we were pretty prepared. It was good to learn about business, it will help with a lot of things.”

Wagner said, “I really enjoyed the competition. I didn’t know a lot about business before but I am glad that I did it. It was interesting.”

Berube said she’s always wanted to do something with business and said it was cool to see what it could potentially be like, through this competition.

Of the class itself, Ruiz said, “I think the DECA class is good. It’s giving us an idea of what life is really like.”