Zachary High marketing program receives grant _lowres

Photo provided by June Thompson -- Zachary High School students attended the state DECA conference in Baton Rouge in February. Participants, from left, included Kirkland Sheppard, Herchiel Devalcourt, Jaylynn Howard, Quinn Richards, Emily Borg, Cathy McLeod, Yusalynda Chew and teacher/coordinator June Thompson. Not shown is Chelsi Parker.

Zachary High School’s marketing and DECA program, led by coordinator and teacher June Thompson, was recently awarded a $2,900 grant from the Marketing Education Retail Alliance.

DECA is a student-centered organization providing leadership and personal development designed for students enrolled in marketing education classes.

MERA was created in 2000 and is administered by the Louisiana Retailers Association. Its grants are funded through the Louisiana Department of Economic Development.

The grant provides an opportunity for students to receive leadership training in school, at the state DECA Career Development Conference and training to improve skills needed for customer service marketing activities, Thompson said.

The customer service training improves skills such as getting to know customers, meeting their needs, building a continuing relationship with customers and going the extra mile, Thompson said.

“The students will benefit from the training while on the job or in any career they may pursue in the future,” Thompson said.

While at the Feb. 22-24 conference in Baton Rouge, Thompson said her students worked with marketing simulations that helped improve their abilities to provide better customer service, product knowledge and follow-up procedures.

The students also competed in various marketing-related events.

Emily Borg placed first in business service management, entitling her to compete April 24-28 at the International Career Development Conference in Orlando, Florida.

“The students can apply what they’ve learned in role-play work scenarios, which carry over into real-life experiences in the workplace,” said Thompson.

Upon completion of the service training in the classroom, with Thompson as the certified teacher, students will be prepared to take the National Customer Service Examination providing them the opportunity to earn the National Professional Certification, which Thompson says “affects everyone.”

“The significance of the NPC in the area of customer service affects the school, the students and potential employers,” said Thompson. “It validates that learning is taking place in the classroom and that class objectives meet industry needs, including rigor and relevance because these certification standards are set by the industry.”

Students leave the class with an industry-developed credential that demonstrates their potential to future employers, Thompson said.

All students who pass the examination are awarded the certification.