Students participate in service projects

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 10, 2003

As part of a public relations project, high schools students taught kindergarten students at Southgate and Banfield elementary schools the importance of hygiene.

Tony Jorgenson, Megan Schroeder and Amanda Osmon, all juniors at Austin High School, visited the two schools and discussed hygiene, which was their public awareness topic as part of a DECA marketing class project.

Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA), also known as Association of Marketing Students, is a program offered in the business department at Austin High to students enrolled in any of the three business classes.

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Ginny Riege, advisor of the program said, students in the Marketing 2 course are required to do a class project for a grade. Students can choose from a variety of fields and topics.

In the public relations project, students are to choose a cause and do as much awareness as possible to a chosen target audience. The project requires the students to find a sponsoring group.

The larger projects can then be entered along with a 30-page written report for a state and national competition.

Though only Jorgenson is currently enrolled in the Marketing 2 class, both Osmon and Schroeder seek the opportunity to participate and enter their project to the state and national competition.

"We called the Red Cross and they gave us a list of different programs. That was the one that struck their interest," Riege said.

The Scrubby Bear program promotes hygiene, hand washing, and educating on how to stay healthy.

Once the program was chosen the students seek their target audience.

With a background as Sunday school teachers, Osmon said they were used to working with kindergarten-age children.

"These are the kids at an age that will go home and tell their parents to wash their hands. They do not get bored with the curriculum and are old enough to understand it," Schroeder said.

After their presentations, the high school students will write a report of what project entailed and its progress. This is then entered in the state competition and read by judges.

A presentation also is put together, which is a sort of show and tell for the judges. The top three projects chosen go to nationals.

"It teaches you how to interact with all kinds and levels of people and we started at the bottom," Osmon said.

Over the years, many of the Austin students have been successful in their projects and gone to nationals, Riege said. Prizes at the competitions are mainly trophies and at times of monetary values.

"It's a lengthy process. We did not know how long the process would be but it has turned out to be lots of fun," Osmon said.

If their group qualifies for nationals they will travel to Orlando, Fla. for the competition later this year.

Roxana Orellana can be reached at 434-2214 or by e-mail at