All four UCS high school stores earn top national recognition for second straight year
All four UCS high school stores earn top national recognition for second straight year
Posted on 02/18/2017
Photos from each school store

For the second straight year, all four Utica Community Schools high school stores have earned national recognition for promoting excellence in business education. 

The school stores received national certification for outstanding achievement for their School-based Enterprises (SBE) through DECA. 
“Our school stores provide students the foundation to become tomorrow’s entrepreneurs,” Superintendent Dr. Christine Johns said. “Working with their marketing teachers, students are developing the hands-on training to promote, sell, manage and brand their products and services.”

DECA, an organization that prepares emerging leaders and entrepreneurs for careers and education in marketing, finance, hospitality and management in high schools and colleges around the globe, selected 360 school stores for Gold-level Certification, or Gold Re-certification, from a nationwide competing field of hundreds of schools. 

Eisenhower, Henry Ford II, Stevenson and Utica high schools all received Gold-level Certification. 

To become DECA-Certified, the stores – known as School Based Enterprises – complete a written project detailing how their business adheres to select model business standards. After the documentation is submitted, a review committee evaluates the documentation to determine which level of certification has been achieved. Recognition is provided for outstanding achievement at three levels: bronze, silver and gold. 

For the sixth year in a row, the Chief Connection store earned National Gold Certification status based on a 50-page project written by Utica High School students Iah Anderson and Tyler Newton.  The store’s advisor is marketing teacher Dana Boice.

This is the fourth straight year for the Henry Ford II store, the Ford Dealers, to receive Gold Certification. Student DECA Members, Laura Frisbie, Allison Saigh, and Nikki Sorgi wrote Henry Ford II’s winning project submission. The advisors are business teachers Jennifer DeClerck Milke and Nick Kawala. 

Tiffani Cooper, Heather Gabriel, Elisha-Ba Castleberry and Brandon Salha helped secure Stevenson High School a Gold Certification for the third year for the Mount Olympus Titan Shoppe, also making them eligible to compete at the national conference. The store's advisor is marketing teacher Heather Gabriel. 

Eisenhower High School students, Nicholas Bean and Haley Davis, with the assistance of their Marketing Teacher and DECA advisor Louise LaFaive, submitted their school’s second Gold Certification winner for the Eagles Nest.

Eisenhower, Henry Ford II, Stevenson, and Utica high schools will all send student representatives to participate in the exclusive School-based Enterprise Academy, only open to invited Gold Certified and Gold Re-certified school stores. The Academy is held annually during DECA’s International Career Development Conference (ICDC). The ICDC will be April 26-29 in Anaheim, California. 

DECA’s School-based Enterprise Certification Program was developed to provide recognition for outstanding achievement to grow and strive for excellence. DECA currently has over 215,000 members with 3,500 high school chapters. 

Complete information about DECA’s School-based Enterprise Certification Program can be found at

Cutline: (upper l-r) – Utica High School, Henry Ford II High School, (lower, l-r) Eisenhower High School and Stevenson High School.