Sentinel student group DECA needs help with funding - ABC FOX Montana Local News, Weather, Sports KTMF | KWYB

Sentinel student group DECA needs help with funding

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The state’s largest business organization for high school students may not be able to send its students to state and national competitions in the coming year.

DECA at Sentinel High School in Missoula is a co-curricular group that focuses on preparing students for careers in marketing, finance, hospitality, and management.

Sentinel DECA is getting ready to represent Montana at the national competition, but this may be the last time they can send students to nationals until they get enough funding.

Mark Hartman serves as the advisor for Sentinel DECA and he said that funding was never much of an issue because they always made revenue through their school store, Spartan Stop.

But, sales at that store are down 60-percent because of new nutrition rules and the store is no longer allowed to sell food like chips, candy, and soda.

Those items help bring in up to 100,000 dollars per year.

Hartman said that the trip to nationals in Atlanta this year costs about 80,000 dollars for all 40 students going.

In the past, DECA has covered about 25 percent of each students travel costs with additional scholarships for those who need it.

But unfortunately, Hartman does not know what the future holds for this organization.

"This basically is my high school experience. This is the reason I feel proud to go to Sentinel High School is doing DECA," said Jack Werner, a Sentinel senior.

Werner said that he is so fortunate to have an opportunity to explore new cities and travel with his friends to places he probably would never go.

And for Sentinel High, DECA is what the school’s known for and it’s something they take with them well past graduation.

"The papers I would write, the speeches I would give in undergraduate were significantly enhance by my experiences and the things that I had learned when I participated in this chapter," said Tanner Block, a Sentinel alumnus.

Block is traveling to nationals with Sentinel DECA as the first alumnus because he said that this is a group he firmly believes in.

And these students look up to their leader, Mr. Hartman, as a mentor both in and outside the classroom.

"The classroom is the learning component. And the DECA chapter is the opportunity to travel and to compete and to network and to experience life outside the walls of the classroom," said Mr. Hartman.

Block said that this organization challenges high school students to solve problems that teenagers don’t normally think about, so he is confident students can come up with a solution, another life skill.

"Students are creative and I have no doubt that it just takes one or two students that are sitting in a room with Mr. Hartman on an afternoon and they may spark an idea that finds a solution for this funding issue," said Block.

The 40 qualifiers are leaving for Atlanta this Friday, April 20th.  

If you would like to help out Sentinel DECA with funding please contact Mr. Hartman at

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