Mariner’s student store ranks top 12 in nation

By LaVendrick Smith | May 23, 2012
Photo by: LaVendrick Smith A mural in Mariner High School’s Blue Thunder Espresso. The student store was ranked a top 12 student store in the nation at DECA’s International Career Development Conference.

Hungry students aren’t the only ones taking notice of Mariner High School’s Blue Thunder Espresso – recognition for the student store known around Mariner as the BTE has reached national levels.

The BTE was ranked one of the top 12 student stores in the nation at DECA’s International Career Development Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah. The conference took place April 28-May 1.

“It felt really good [to rank] because we put in a lot of time and a lot of hard work,” said junior Ashley Harris, who went to the conference. “It felt really good to know we came for a reason.”

The conference invited thousands of DECA students across the nation to compete against each other. The students also participated in various leadership building academies.

Mariner’s BTE competed in the conference’s School Based Enterprise competition, which searched for the school with the best store. Mariner’s BTE made it to the top 12.

“Being recognized as one of the top 12 stores in the nation is pretty sweet,” said senior Justine Blunk, who also attended the conference. “I’m just glad to be able to share it with such a great school.”

Four students –Ashley Harris, Emily Wooden, Dalia Bazan and Justin Blunk – represented Mariner at the conference.

At the competition, the four had to present Mariner’s student store to panel of judges. They also had to create a video that detailed daily operations of the store, including inventory, cleanup and the uniforms of BTE staff.

Ashley, who has worked in the BTE for the past two years, attended the conference a year ago. After seeing Mariner go unranked last year, she said she was surprised Mariner did so well compared to the other competing schools.

“Everybody’s good there – they’re the best of the best,” she said.

Justin, in his first year working for the BTE, was also astonished that Mariner ranked.

“When I heard Mariner called, I thought ‘Mariner from Washington?’” Justin said. “I was in complete shock because there was a lot of great competition there.”

The students each received medals for the BTE’s recognition.

Ashley, who will work for the store next year, said she hopes to rank even higher in next year’s competition.

“Hopefully placing into the top 10 would be next year’s goal,” she said.

LaVendrick Smith is an intern for the Mukilteo Beacon.

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