Gibbs High School teacher LeeAnne Kepper, freshman Mary Anne Cooper and senior Sidney Vass helped the school’s DECA Club gain national recognition this year.


A campaign to promote Career and Technical Education (CTE) helped students at Gibbs High School earn some national recognition in recent weeks.

The school’s DECA club — which prepares students for business-oriented careers — was the only one in Tennessee to earn the DECA Advocacy Award, in honor of a promotional campaign to highlight the value of CTE programs. The campaign included:

  • Digital marketing on the school’s electronic marquee;
  • Social media marketing;
  • Interviews with CTE teachers; and
  • Promotional messages on the school’s morning announcements.

Sidney Vass, the club’s president and a senior at Gibbs, said it’s important for students to find activities they’re passionate about, and that the club has helped her make new friends.

  • DECA’s helped me reach out to other people and experience a whole new, different world — finding other people that are passionate about wanting to help people and also go into the marketing field or the business field.”

The Eagles also gained recognition for their Chapter Campaign and took steps to boost school spirit this year, including a Valentine’s promotion that provided candy to faculty and staff, and a carnation sale — in partnership with the Future Business Leaders of America — which benefited cystic fibrosis philanthropy.

9th-grader Mary Anne Cooper said it can be hard for students to find their place in high school, but DECA helped her make connections.

  • “I’ve met a lot of really diverse, different people in our group. It’s not just like one grade, it’s not just centered around one certain group of people … I’ve gotten to meet all kinds of different people that I wouldn’t have gotten to meet otherwise.”

Students do not have to enroll in marketing classes to join DECA, and teacher LeeAnne Kepper said she tries to emphasize that students can participate in the club while also participating in other activities such as sports or dance.

Kepper said she is also proud of the efforts club members make to show kindness and to reach out, adding that “We just have a lot of fun.”


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