Gahanna Lincoln DECA Students to Participate in National Competition in Georgia

Marketing students at Gahanna Lincoln High School have Georgia on their minds.

DECA students will put their talents to the test at the program’s DECA International Competition in Atlanta for four days from April 23-27 after a successful presentation at the state competition.

According to ICCD website.

The top competitors in each event are recognized for their outstanding achievements, and many students and advisors participate in various leadership and career advancement academies.

“It was great to see our Gahanna students shine again after nearly three years since our last in-person state competition,” said Kit Lynch, Gahanna Lincoln marketing professor. “This group has worked extremely hard on their projects and presentations and are thrilled to continue their success in the national DECA competition.”

During the school year, about 5,000 Ohio DECA student members participate in the organization’s competitive events program, allowing them to compete for district and state titles, according to Lynch.

The competitions are designed to simulate real business scenarios and test students’ academic understanding and skill development.

Gahanna students presented and defended their 20-page marketing research and business plan projects conducted for area businesses at the state conference, according to Lynch.

Hannah Reich and Avery Suriano are competing in the national championships after placing second in the state competition at the Buying and Merchandising Research event after working with corporate clients Bath and body care.

“We’re really excited,” Suriano said. “What we did (to prepare for the nationals) was last minute touches. My partner and I added some jokes to make it more engaging. It’s a lot more competition. It is not about having a good presentation but a spectacular presentation.

Suriano said this year’s prompt was about the employee experience.

“They weren’t that willing to identify employee issues,” she said. “In past years they have provided data on social media. It’s a sensitive subject, especially after COVID. We had to be extremely careful in the questions we asked.

She said she and Reich conducted an investigation and coordinated four separate associate meetings.

“We listened to their strategies,” Suriano said. “The technology associates were more satisfied than the product team. We reviewed the strategies used by the technical department. They would get together and intentionally take time out for online games or a virtual happy hour. What we’ve done is provide those opportunities to everyone in the company.

Reich said she enjoyed visiting the Bath & Body headquarters the most and seeing what it was like behind the scenes.

She said seeing the employee experience provides a very different perspective than what you see as a customer.

Reich said one suggestion the company could implement is to give employees the opportunity to volunteer at a location of their choosing.

“It would go towards their paid work time,” she said. “It doesn’t cost them much and has a big impact.”

Reich said the project taught him what to look for in a business.

“As someone looking to be hired in the future, I will watch how a company treats its employees,” she said. “You want to make sure that the company will support you. It is important to know your worth.

Reich said she was looking forward to seeing how their project compares to others.

Other Gahanna students receiving state-level recognition, their event and placement were Noah Amos, Nicholas Hoerig and Rohan Schmidt, Business Services Research, first place; Alicia Harvey and Kendall Barker, Purchasing and Merchandising Research, first; Molly Cepek and Rhyan Cumbow, Hospitality Research, first; John Vandermark, Vincent Piccolantonio and Ryan Reeg, International Business Plan, second; Kiersten Marks, Innovation Business Plan, third; Caleb Hughes and Matthew Jones, independent business plan, third; Brendan Phillips, Hayden Waara and Hailey Waara, Franchise Business Plan, seventh; Niko Kokales, Automotive Services, ninth; and Madison Shook, lodging and hotel management, 10th.

For the past decade, the Gahanna Lincoln DECA Chapter has ranked among the top 10 DECA Chapters in North America, according to Lynch.

For more information on Gahanna DECA, visit her website at

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