New ORR business club means business

Jan 14, 2020

Though the Old Rochester Regional High School DECA club is barely a year old, and just attended its first district level competition, the fledgeling club did quite well, with 17 of 33 students that attended qualifying for States.

Ryu Hyuhn-Aoyama, a high school senior, is one of the business club’s co-presidents. He used to live in Wareham and always planned to join their team. When he discovered that ORR didn’t have a team he started trying to form one. But didn’t have enough interest until this year’s sophomore class started last year. 

The group practices every Friday after school with sample questions, while Hyuhn-Aoyama, his co-president Eddie Gonnet, the club’s advisor Alyssa Whitney, and its Secretary Kinsley Trout serve as judges.

At districts, Hyuhn-Aoyama placed third in entrepreneurship, one of the more competitive categories.

He says he’s felt the entrepreneurial pull since he was in first grade, selling silly bands at school for allowance money. “I definitely want to get into it as a career,” he said. 

Gonnet also did quite well, capturing first in principles of business management.

“I’m proud of the club and surprised at myself,” he said, in reaction to the results. 

Gonnet said he was drawn to his event because, “I like CEOs and running a business.” He may prepare for the same event next year or find a more specialized niche within it.

For club member David Ditata, the performance and competition aspect of the group is, “really nerve-wracking when you think about it at the beginning, but comes together when you do it.

Trout described struggling on one of the questions that she was asked in competition, but said she was able to work with her partner to figure it out.

“It makes you think outside the box more,” Trout said.

Kathleen Dunn gave some insight into what the questions were like. One of her problems in the food marketing services categories involved a moral decision on whether companies should market misshapen vegetables.

She said the question forced her to “look at the outside world and the way you market can really affect everyone involved.” 

But the club goes beyond strictly business, bringing club members together around a common interest that they might not otherwise be able to explore at ORR.

“Ryu and Eddie being co-presidents and their attitude definitely contributes to the club being enjoyable,” Ditata said.

Brendan Burke joined the group because “a bunch of my friends were in it,” but also because he hopes to go into business in college.

He appreciates the “community of being with friends and having fun times.”

Ditata also saw his school as a bit of an underdog. “I was really surprised when that many people placed, seeing that we didn’t have business classes or years of experience.”

DECA also seems to see the lack of a business class as a stumbling block for the group, and allowed it to start on the condition that the school has to have a business class within five years.

Though Hyuhn-Aoyama only gets a year and a half or so with the club that he founded, he is also “happy to leave DECA club as my legacy. It will help prepare kids for post-high school life,” he said.

Top three finishers for the event include:

Brendan Burke, 1st Place in the Sports and Entertainment Marketing Series
Edward Gonet, 1st Place Principles of Business Management and Administration
Gwen Miedma, 2nd Place Principles of Hospitality and Tourism
Sean Lund, 2nd Place  Hospitality Services Team Decision Making
Samuel Harris, 2nd Place  Hospitality Services Team Decision Making
Amaya McLeod, 3rd Place  Hospitality Services Team Decision Making
Emily Dellicioppa, 3rd Place  Hospitality Services Team Decision Making
Ryu Hyuhn-Aoyama, 3rd Place Entrepreneurship
Theodore Carroll, 3rd Place  Hotel and Lodging Management Series

The qualifying members will head to the State competition in late February.

For community members who want to support DECA in its fundraising, the group will hold two Feb. 12 spaghetti dinners in the high school cafeteria. Diners can be served at 5 p.m. or 6:30 p.m. Tickets are on sale during school hours at the office.