UCJSHS: Bringing Business to the Forefront of Learning
In a world where standardized tests and graduation rates weigh heavy on the hearts and minds of all high school employees, it is nice to know that there are programs that exist in our schools that allow our students to explore and experience real-world opportunities in order to create more well-rounded citizens. At UCJSHS, Miss Becky Kuehl has been leading this charge for over 25 years. Kuehl is the Business Teacher for students in grades 7-12, is the adviser for the corporation’s DECA program, and is the chief overseer for the corporation’s two school-based enterprises (SBE’s), the TeePee and Apache Design. These opportunities help to make a student’s experience at UCJSHS even more memorable and rewarding.
What is DECA?
DECA is an organization founded in 1946 that prepares students to become leaders and entrepreneurs in the areas of Finance, Marketing, Hospitality and Management. It is organized into two unique student divisions, each with programs designed to address the learning styles, interest, and focus of its members. The High School Division includes 200,000 members in 3,500 schools. The Collegiate Division includes over 15,000 members in 275 colleges and universities. DECA Inc. is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit student organization with more than 215,000 members in all 50 United States, the District of Columbia, Canada, China, Germany, Guam, Mexico, Puerto Rico and Spain. The United States Congress, the United States Department of Education and state, district and international departments of education authorize DECA’s programs.
Randolph Eastern joined the DECA program during the 1968-1969 school year and was advised by Mr. Richard Clark. In 1971-72, Jerry Beeman took over. In 1972-1974, Pat Leighton was the teacher. In 1974-75, Tom Johnson became the teacher and was the driving force behind the TeePee, the county’s first student-run business. At Randolph Eastern, in order for students to participate in DECA, they must first be enrolled in the Principles of Marketing course. Once this happens, students become members of DECA and remain members until they graduate. Kuehl says, “The program focuses on providing our students with the tools they need to become better leaders, to make them more aware of their career path, and to help them focus on supporting their community. I think another thing that DECA does is to educate them on how one behaves and exists in the professional world.” Seemingly, this skill could benefit so many in today’s society.
SBEs at Randolph Eastern- The TeePee and Apache
A School-based Enterprise (SBE) is an entrepreneurial operation in a school setting that provides goods and services to meet the needs of the market. SBEs are managed and operated by students as hands-on learning laboratories that integrate National Curriculum Standards in Marketing, Finance, Hospitality or Management. SBEs provide realistic and practical learning experiences that reinforce classroom instruction. SBEs can sell to consumers through a permanent location, a mobile kiosk or through internet marketing. Products may include school spirit wear, food and beverage items, school supplies, signs and banners, and more, while other SBEs provide services such as creative design, advertising sales and more. At Randolph Eastern, the students operate two SBEs, the TeePee and Apache Design. Both business ventures are Gold Star rated, an honor earned only by four other Indiana schools- Carmel (student population 4,830), Brownsburg (2,436), Avon (2757), and Fort Wayne Northrop (2,179). Union City (student population of 279) has proven it can certainly hold its own against “the big boys.”
The TeePee was Randolph Eastern’s first SBE, being established in 1974 by then business teacher, Tom Johnson. First on a rolling cart in the gym foyer during the students’ lunch period, the TeePee found a permanent home in the mid-1980’s, complete with a front display window and checkout line. Students operate the school store on a daily basis. They order the items to be placed in the store, they figure the cost, they make the price tags, and they stock the shelves. The students operate a Point-of-Sale System. The manager hires classmates for certain positions like receiving clerk, warehouse manager, product buyers, assistant manager, and accountant. Students receive a daily participation grade. Each “hired” student receive two manager evaluations during a 9 week period. Also, the students are assigned weekly marketing assignments that they work on when not scheduled to work in the store. Up to 18 students can participate in the TeePee program. Currently, it is a class open only to Seniors as it serves as a capstone to the Marketing Pathway. UC Senior Sydney Ralston is the 2018-2019 TeePee Manager.
Apache Design came to fruition during the 1987-1988 school year. It started in the corner of the business classroom as a department of the TeePee. It broke away from the TeePee starting in 1992-1993. Apache Design received its own space during the renovation process when the new middle school was built; however, it was moved to its current location after a second renovation took place. Students are able to participate during their Senior year, but must have successfully completed Principles of Marketing first. Students receive credit each semester. They are given a participation grade and the manager and assistant manager perform an employee evaluation for each student involved. They also receive a profit/loss grade each month.
Apache has always done silk screening. The company is responsible for printing many of the school’s spirit shirts and Homecoming apparel. They’ve designed and printed shirts for the Jim Noffsinger Memorial 5K Run, the Arts Festival in Union City, and shirts for the GRIC PreSchool program. Most recently, Apache Design was commissioned to print over 300 shirts for every third grade student in Randolph County for The Randolph County Promise. They dabbled in dye sublimation early on, but did not have much success with it. By the end of this year, Apache Design is looking to add vinyl banner printing to their load. They also hope to gain a second heat press for their shirts, as well as a hat press. Reagan Hoggatt, UC Senior, is this year’s Apache Design manager.
Groups and organizations can contact Kuehl by calling her at (765) 964-4840 ext. 118, or they can reach her via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, if they are interested in having Apache Design create for them.
Students have accomplished great things through the business department at Union City Junior/ Senior High School. Through classwork, real-world experiences, and competitions, the students at UC are gaining invaluable knowledge and experience in the world of business and entrepreneurship.