Mound-Westonka ‘Giving Back’ In A Big Way

By John Lauritsen, WCCO-TV

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A group of students at Mound-Westonka High School have demonstrated they have a true business plan for giving back.

“I really didn’t know anything about business and now I do, and that’s what I want to do,” said senior Hannah Larson. “DECA has opened my eyes to business that I didn’t think I wanted anything to do with it before I joined.”

About one in every eight students at Mound-Westonka is involved in DECA — that’s 140 students and growing.

The organization is catered to those interested in marketing and business. The students then compete against other schools through business and sales competitions. That sometimes means writing 30-page business plans.

Mound-Westonka has more than held its own.

“Incredible leaders, incredibly motivated. We are just so fortunate to have an incredible group of kids,” said DECA advisor Stephanie Lolich.

That praise doesn’t just come from the school. As part of the “DECA Diamond” and the sign that comes with it, these students have volunteered and raised money for organizations such as Gillespie Senior Center, Feed My Starving Children, The Ronald McDonald House and others.

Their “30 Deeds and 30 Days” initiative involved small deeds like opening the door for a stranger, to writing a letter to a soldier overseas, to volunteering at a nursing home.

“I feel it’s my duty to give back to this community that has provided me with the opportunities that I’ve had to succeed,” said DECA president Dan Flesher.

So while they were busy giving back, WCCO-TV surprised them with a check for $500 for being this week’s Community Spotlight Winners.

“We are really proud of these students. They give time out of their weekends, free time, to go out and give back to our Westonka Community,” said DECA advisor Sue Simonson.

The students and their advisors say they will likely use the $500 for fundraising and more “giving back” initiatives.

Community Spotlight is courtesy of Sieben Grose Von Holtum & Carey.

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