“Challenging, fun, useful, unforgettable- that’s the Gahanna Marketing Program.”


About Gahanna Marketing

For more than three decades students in the Gahanna Lincoln Marketing Education Program have loved coming to class. If you’re interested in learning more about the world of business (and not afraid of a challenge) the Gahanna Marketing program may be for you. The class format is hands-on, and emphasizes learning about marketing by completing real projects for area businesses.

Many students use their high school marketing project to help land internships in college. The scroll below gives a sampling of businesses our students have partnered with recently.

DECA is a is a co-curricular student organization for high school marketing students that brings learning to life. It helps students apply learning in the context of business, connect to the business community, and promotes competition. DECA consists of more than 200,000 students from over 5,000 high schools in all 50 states and 9 countries. Students will present and defend their marketing projects to area businesspeople during the Ohio DECA state competition in March. This year we'll travel to Nashville, TN to compete at the 2016 DECA International Career Development Conference.


For the past decade Gahanna marketing students have finished among the top 10 DECA chapters in North America based on their performance at the International DECA Career Development Conference.

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The Paw Print is a 100% student run spirit shop for Gahanna Lions fans. The store is attached to the marketing room and open to students before school and during lunches. Community members can shop at the store most school days from 7am - 2pm. You can also shop our online store 24/7 during the school year.

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Our program consists of five parts: classroom learning, school store operations, a marketing project, an internship, and DECA. Unlike many classes where students spend the majority of their time taking notes and sitting at desks, our learning style is project based, active, and real. Textbooks are used sparingly- students learn about marketing, management, and entrepreneurship by experiencing it. You can access a syllabus listing the major marketing content areas covered in class here.
DECA is a marvelous program that your son/daughter will be heavily involved in this year. DECA is a co-curricular student organization for high school marketing students that brings learning to life. It helps students apply learning in the context of business, connect to the business community, and promotes competition. In Ohio there are about 200 high schools and 5,000 students that participate in DECA. Outside of Ohio, DECA consists of more than 200,000 students from over 5,000 high schools in all 50 states and 9 countries. Our signature blue blazers, summer leadership camp, and our district, state, and national competitions are all part of the DECA program. The GLHS DECA Chapter is internationally recognized for the high level marketing projects our students have completed for area businesses. DECA is the heart of our marketing program, and probably the reason your son/daughter applied for the program.
Early in the year I will send home a form asking your permission to communicate with your child through text messaging. All text communication will be curricular (program related) in nature. Examples of reasons I might text your child include: reminders about special guests, events, and last minute changes that affect store operations or competition schedules. We’ll also be traveling across the country this year for our national competition and text messaging is the most efficient way for me to give our entire group on-the-fly info related to changes in competitions and meeting times. If you prefer I do not send curricular based text messages to your child I can arrange for another student to forward the information to them. On this permission form I’ll also have a social media section related to student use of Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Instagram for this course. Social media is an important marketing tool and we study its business use in the course. Students will also take turns managing the Paw Print’s social media accounts that we use to market products and promote our chapter activities. If you prefer your child does not participate in using our established social media accounts for curricular purposes, please indicate so on the form.
Students have lots of choices regarding the type of marketing project they complete. Options exist in the areas of entrepreneurship, advertising, fashion promotion, sports marketing, and marketing research. Most projects are 25-30 typed pages, and are presented to business owners upon completion. Students have the option of completing a project by themselves or with one classmate. Many students are able to use their marketing projects well beyond high school- for college courses, internship interviews, and even first career interviews. The finished quality of work is upper-college level.
I have your child for two periods a day, and most of our work is done in the classroom. Homework is very light, as are traditional pen-and-paper tests. But, this class will challenge your child in a different way. They are going to conduct research, analyze data, and then create a marketing plan that helps an area business solve a problem. And after they do this, they will present and defend their plan to business professionals. Students will be pushed to develop time management, creative thinking, problem solving, business writing, and lots of human relation skills. The busiest and most stressful time for your child will be the three week period before our state competition in mid March. Late February and early March will be the time where students are editing and finalizing their written projects, and developing a professional presentation. They’ll be under firm deadlines to present their plan back to their businesses and me. There will be some evening and weekend hours during this stretch.
If you own your own business I would love for you to share your “how I did it” story with our students. If you have contacts of area entrepreneurs who you think would be good speakers to seniors I would love your help connecting with them. Likewise, if you have contacts with marketing professionals or other upper- management professionals of area businesses I would greatly appreciate help connecting our students with them. The success of our student projects is greatly impacted by having strong contacts at our “client” businesses. I have a parent presentation nite scheduled for March 11 in the GLHS library. This is a really important practice event for our students, and I need parents to listen to presentations and give pointers to our students. A reminder of this date will come in early March. The Ohio DECA State Competition Grand Awards Ceremony is at the Greater Columbus Convention Center on Saturday, March 19 at 7:30pm. This is a showcase event that you won’t want to miss. Students finishing in the top 4 in their event areas automatically qualify for the International DECA Competition held in Nashville, TN this year.
It’s really important our students look professional when they appear before the business people who serve as judges for our DECA competitions. The snazzy, navy blue DECA blazer has to be worn during all official competitions, so students should select dress clothing that matches it. Here are my recommendations: Gents: Tan dress slacks with pleats (cuffs or no cuffs fine), solid white or blue dress shirt, tie, and dress shoes. Guys will want to pack two dress shirts for our state and national competitions. Ladies: A conservative skirt (grey or tan, & close to knee length),a solid white or blue blouse, and heels. During opening and closing DECA sessions and meetings, ladies will need to be in professional dress and can get away with a nice pair of pants, and those flat type shoes.
More than 14,000 students from all 50 states and 9 countries will compete at this years ICDC in Nashville, TN from April 23 – April 27. Students have to earn their way to the conference by being a top winner in their state DECA competition. The trip is a mix of leadership, competition, and fun for students. Our chapter will earn points based on the number of Top-10 finishes we claim, and for the past decade Gahanna DECA has finished among the top 5 DECA Chapters in the world. You can get more ICDC info from DECA’s webpage here. My eligibility information for your child to attend this year’s ICDC can be found here.
The true cost (transportation, conference registration, hotel) to attend the DECA ICDC is usually about $1,000 per student. We work really hard to bring this number down significantly. Store profits are used to help off-set student costs. Depending on our sales year, I can usually get the the trip cost I quote parents in March to around $550. From this point we brainstorm and do additional fund raising. Over the past few years we have sold advertising packages to local businesses to help further lower travel costs. The average price paid per student last year was about $250. Money will be due on or before April 18, 2016. Airfare will be purchased upfront for your child and this cost is NOT refundable. Tickets may be purchased as early as December. If you are having any concerns about committing to the ICDC please let me know before Thanksgiving Break.
Please contact me via email or on my cell phone @ 614-578-6812 to discuss any payment issues- something can be worked out.
You will receive a very general ICDC permission form immediately following the Ohio DECA State competition. This will be during the third week of March. A very detailed ICDC itinerary will be sent to you via email once all travel details are finalized- usually the first or second week of April.
Students in spring sports sometimes have tough choices to make. I leave it up to students and parents to decide if attending the ICDC is the best choice for them. I will say the experience of attending the DECA ICDC is usually the highlight of a student’s high school career. In a few cases I have had students fly solo coming to or departing the conference due to sports or school activities. The stars really have to align for this to happen due to student safety/liability issues and our travel and competition schedules. Please call me to discuss potential problems before Thanksgiving break. NON-refundable airfare for this trip may be purchased as early as December.
Yes. National DECA awards more than $300,000 in scholarships each year to Marketing students from across the nation. Most of these National awards are given to DECA students who work for a corporate sponsor of National DECA. For example, Target gives out about $10,000 in scholarships at the conference, but you have to be a DECA student employed part-time at a Target store to be eligible. Ohio DECA offers several $500 to $1,000 merit based scholarships that our students are eligible to win. Locally, the Gahanna Rotary Club and Gahanna Area Chamber of Commerce also offer merit based scholarships specifically for Gahanna Marketing/DECA students.


  • July 30-31 Paw Print Set-Up Days
  • August 3-6 Schedule Pick-Up Days
  • November 18 Ohio DECA Fall Leadership Conference- Columbus, OH
  • February TBD Ohio DECA District Competition- Columbus, OH
  • March 16 Parent Meeting, 7pm- GLHS Library
  • March 18-19 Ohio DECA State Competition- Downtown Columbus Hyatt Regency
  • April 19 Final payment for International DECA Competition Due
  • April 23-27 International DECA Competition- Nashville, TN

DECA Promo Video