Falcon student qualifies for business competition

Wyatt Jarvis relaxes in the courtyard at South Whidbey High School. If he can raise the money, he’ll travel to Atlanta to compete in the International Career Development Conference. - Jeff VanDerford / The Record
Wyatt Jarvis relaxes in the courtyard at South Whidbey High School. If he can raise the money, he’ll travel to Atlanta to compete in the International Career Development Conference.
— image credit: Jeff VanDerford / The Record

It took a teacher who cared and a gift for business skills for Wyatt Jarvis to secure a spot at an international business conference in Atlanta later this month.

Now a senior at South Whidbey High School, Jarvis had taken a marketing class at Everett High School where his teacher encouraged him to join the school’s business program, Distributive Education Clubs of America, or DECA.

“He actually sent me to detention once to force me to check it out,” Jarvis recalled. “I’m glad he did.”

After moving to South Whidbey, Jarvis joined the local DECA group and specialized in retail merchandising.

At a rigorous statewide competition in Bellevue on March 8,

Jarvis placed fifth and was selected to attend the International Career Development Conference April 25.

DECA is an international association of high school and college students studying marketing, management and entrepreneurship in business, finance, hospitality and marketing sales and service. DECA has more than 185,000 high school students in 5,000 chapters located in the United States, Canada, Germany, Mexico and Puerto Rico.

“To be one of the few to be selected to go is an awesome achievement,” said Sharyl Harless, business and marketing teacher at the high school. “We have 20 members of DECA at South Whidbey and they compete in up to 45 events against 800 very sharp kids around the state.”

The state competition wasn’t a piece of cake.

“We had to study five areas of merchandising, take a written test on our general marketing knowledge and get ready for the role playing scenario,” Jarvis said.

“I didn’t get to bed until after

1 a.m. for two nights.”

The next day, sharply dressed in a business suit, Jarvis was given a role-playing problem. He had

10 minutes to prepare a solution and 10 more to present it before two judges.

“I was a consultant for a giant national chain of department stores that was assimilating smaller operations,” Jarvis explained. “I had to come up with a strategy for getting customers to make the transition to the new company.”

Whatever the judges were looking for, Jarvis had it and qualified for the second round while some of his competition fell by the wayside.

That afternoon, he had to adopt the role of an advisor to the owner of a men’s store in a strip mall wanting to expand.

“In 10 minutes, I had to procure funding, form a business plan, then assess and overcome the risks involved,” Jarvis said.

“The process is hard, but I enjoy it. And it gave me the chance to meet some very sharp kids from other schools. There weren’t many dummies at this event.”

Jarvis said his experiences playing high school football and putting the shot on the Falcon track team has taught him the merits of competition, whatever the field.

“I’m ready for anything they throw at me,” he said.

But first, he needs to get there. Costs for the five-day event total $3,500, and though he has secured a corporate sponsor, he still needs a bit more help to raise the money.

Anyone wanting to help can call Harless at 221-6808, ext. 5121 or e-mail at the school.

Jarvis plans to study political science in the fall at Western Washington University. Why politics and not business administration?

“Both politics and business often revolve around the need to sell something to somebody,”

Jarvis said.

Jeff VanDerford can be reached at 221-5300 or jvanderford@south

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