School's store gets certified

SUWANEE - North Gwinnett High's school store was among the school-based enterprises that achieved DECA's highest level of certification this year, according to a news release.

DECA (Distributive Education Clubs of America) developed a school-based enterprise certification program to provide recognition for outstanding achievement and to motivate the organizations to strive for excellence. School stores can be certified at three levels: bronze, silver or gold.

North Gwinnett's Dawg House was first certified in 2007. The 11-year-old store received gold level certification this year and will be recognized at DECA's International Career Development Conference in Anaheim, Calif. The Dawg House is the only Gwinnett County school store that has received this honor.

"I'm just very proud of the school store at North Gwinnett," marketing coordinator Jacqueline Huffman said. "It's a wonderful learning opportunity for the marketing students, and I'm really pleased the store is being recognized nationally because all of the students are working really hard to make sure it's a real business."

Students Lindy Pope and Casey Schnautz developed an 85-page manual to apply for this year's certification, Huffman said. The certification recognizes the store is going above and beyond what is required by the state in financial planning, promotion, store management, product selection and communication.

Huffman also attributed the store's success to the support from the school's administration, led by principal Ed Shaddix.

"School-based enterprises are effective educational tools in helping to prepare students for the transition from school to work or college," DECA's news release states. "For many students, they provide the first work experience; for others, they provide an opportunity to build management, supervision and leadership skills."

DECA is a nonprofit student organization preparing its members for careers in marketing, management and entrepreneurship.