PHS students aim at National DECA competition


Hugh McMillan

Peninsula High School students Sara Undem, Nadira Ali, and Madison Ormsby have created a DECA community service project aimed at winning participation in the National DECAcompetition in Nashville, Tennessee in spring 2016.

Peninsula High School students Sara Undem, Nadira Ali, and Madison Ormsby have created a DECA community service project aimed at winning participation in the National DECA competition in Nashville, Tennessee in spring 2016.

DECA, now a word in its own right, originated as "Distributive Education Clubs of America." DECA prepares emerging leaders and entrepreneurs for careers in marketing, finance, hospitality and management in high schools and colleges around the globe and hosts competitions in which students role-play at presentation events.

“We are hoping to attend the State and National competitions with our community service project,”said PHS senior Sara Undem. “At the end of the 2014 school year, we combined with our DECA chapterand PHS’Leadership and ASB to organize a backpack drive titled ‘Give Back YourPack,’in which students gave used backpacks to classmates in need.

"The backpacks were donated to Food Backpacks 4 Kids which filled them with food to go home with students in need,”said Undem. "November16-20, we organized a week-long food drive competition between PHSand our crosstown rival, Gig Harbor High. Each schoolcompeted to see which would donate most for FoodBackpacks 4 Kids. At the end of the week, each school’s food was weighed at thePurdy Transfer Station to determine the winner,”she said.

According to Undem, amain event hosted a Nov. 7 benefit concert at Uptown Gig Harbor outdoor shoppingcenter.

“The PHS band Mystic Vines performedfrom 3-5 p.m. Moneydonations were accepted and door prize tickets were given each attendee.There were drawings of gift cards to Fondis,Blazing Onion, Uptown and Edible Arrangements. Also sponsoring us were Yo!Gs and ABM Management. Company logos wereon our flyers and ads prior to the event and displayed on a banner.”she added.

“Being a part of this fundraiser and raising awareness for Food Backpacks 4 Kids is incredibly rewarding and a really nice opportunity. I love every part of it and am so proud,” Ormsby said.

The Food Backpacks 4 Kids program, led by Karen Jorgenson, was launched on the Key Peninsula in 2009. In its first week, nine backpacks were distributed at Evergreen Elementary School.

"Our collective passion has infected many others resulting in substantial growth of the program,”said Undem. "Each school year we support about 500 youth weekly with participating students at every Peninsula School District school. We predict that each year the number of children and families served will increase.”

“It has truly been a blessing to help bring the community together and raise awareness for such a great cause,”Ali said.

Food Backpacks 4 Kids is a nonprofit organization which fills backpacks with food for students whose families cannot afford food on weekends.

“It is an incredible opportunity to witness all that Food Backpacks 4 Kids does for the community and to take part in something which helps my classmates and peers,” Undem said.

In this summer's Maritime Gig, the DECA community service project walked with Food Backpacks 4 Kids. It created a game for Gig Harbor Uptown’s trick-or-treating and also wrote a grant letter which received $2500 from the Ben B. Cheney Foundation.

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