BLACKSBURG – Blacksburg High School’s school store, The Bear Necessities, is getting some national attention.
DECA, the not-for-profit worldwide student organization for high school and college students preparing for careers in marketing, finance, hospitality, and management, is recognizing The Bear Necessities as one of about 400 school-based enterprises in the United States achieving Gold Level Certification this year.
The program, and the students and faculty manager leading it, will be recognized at DECA’s upcoming International Career Development Conference in Orlando, Florida. The students who worked on the certification were Ryan Castle, Josh Gholston, and Tate Pospichal, with the assistance of their advisor Kim Radford.
“The Bear Necessities has operated for 11 years and sells BHS spirit gear and novelty items,” said Radford. “This is the third time we’ve had to apply for Gold Certification, which requires the managers to submit a 50-page written manual regarding our operations. I’m so proud of the effort from the whole DE Sports Management class to achieve this level of recognition.”
DECA considers an SBE “an entrepreneurial operation in a school setting that provides goods and services to meet the needs of the market” that are managed and operated by students as hands-on learning laboratories that integrate National Curriculum Standards in Marketing, Finance, Hospitality, and Business Management,” according to DECA. “Marketing educators and DECA advisors have utilized this effective educational tool for over four decades to provide students with realistic and practical learning experiences that reinforce classroom instruction, enhance 21st-century skill development and prepare students for college and careers.”
The students say they are pleased with the recognition.
“It was very satisfying to see the hours of work put in behind the scenes pay off,” said Castle. “Everybody, not just the managers, played a part in our store’s success this year. We’re very thankful for everyone who helped us during this process.” Pospichal noted the excitement generated by representing the BHS enterprise in Orlando. Gholston agrees.
“This has been a great experience for us this year,” Gholston added.
According to DECA, the School-based Enterprise Certification Program “was developed to provide recognition for outstanding achievement by school-based enterprises and to motivate SBEs to strive for excellence and growth.”
SBEs can be certified at the bronze, silver and gold level. In order to apply for the certification, SBEs must submit extensive documentation that demonstrates their adherence to various marketing and retail standards. A review committee evaluates the documentation to determine which level of certification has been achieved. Complete information about DECA’s School-based Enterprise Certification Program can be found at www.deca.org/sbe.