, Gloucester, MA

March 22, 2013

Local teens bring home business awards

By Gail McCarthy
Staff Writer

---- — Rockport High Junior Kyle Schraft used his songwriting talents to win election as a state DECA officer at the recent DECA state competition held in Boston, attended by dozens of students from Cape Ann.

A Gloucester High student will move onto national competition while another will attend the organization’s leadership academy.

And eight Manchester Essex Regional High School students qualified for international competition.

DECA is a business and marketing entrepreneurial program in which students step out of jeans and into business dress to compete at local, state and national levels, and written papers, tests and role playing are part of the competition categories.

Schraft, elected to be a Massachusetts DECA State officer for 2013-14, wrote a rap song and handed it out at the competition as he worked to successfully rally votes.

“I am proud of Kyle running for state office from a small school and making a big impression on the students at the DECA state conference,” said teacher Scott Larson, also Rockport High’s DECA advisor. “In addition I am proud of our qualifiers and all the students who competed. They are up against the best DECA students in the state and I think our students did very well on the state stage.”

Schraft made more than 300 CDs of his rap, “Shraftymusic.”

“He campaigned by making speeches, shaking a lot of hands, demonstrating a willingness to take on leadership in Massachusetts DECA, and he did some rapping for the crowds which they loved,” said Larson who noted that Schraft needed to get 51 percent of the 426 voting delegates, which came from all Massachusetts DECA schools.

Rockport students who qualified for the International Conference in Anaheim, Calif., in April are Matt Ambrogi, Loren Grier, Veyla Jackson, Miranda Gale and Krysia Strumpf.

Rockport medal winners for outstanding performances in their respective categories were Julia Endicott and Sophie Volpe; and Corey Silver.

Finishing in the Top Ten in the state for their categories were Nick Laverde and Matthew Rostkowski; Erik Radzinski; Ekin Bakkal; Sedra Balzarini and Alexis Cruz; Anna Rittenburg, Kim McEachern and Hannah Lorden; Kyle Schraft, Ryan Davis and Patrick McNiff; Tucker Meredith and Kyle Edmonds; and Ginny Lawrence and Heather MacArthur, all of Rockport.

To help raise money for students to attend the next level of competition, a breakfast benefit will be held April 6 at the Fish Shack in Rockport from 7:30 to 10 a.m. The local chapter is also raising money through Dinner Dealer, which is a deck of cards containing over $300 in savings at more than 40 North Shore restaurants. Each card is a dollar off discount. The deck retails for $25, plus $1 gets donated to a local food pantry for every deck sold. For every deck sold, $10 will be donated to Rockport’s DECA program. Visit the Dinner Dealer website at

Anyone who wants to be a sponsor or make a donation, can contact Larsen at


“Go for the Gold” is this year’s DECA theme.

“Going for the gold sums up the success for Ariana Puopolo, a senior at Gloucester High, who qualified to attend this year’s national DECA competition,” said Ann Grassetti, program leader of Gloucester High’s business department. “Ariana placed third out of 12 teams in the category of Professional Selling. In this competitive event, participants must sell a product to a manufacturer/supplier and take a marketing exam. The competition was especially tough this year with Massachusetts having a 16 percent increase in student members participating from last year.”

Puopolo said it was a great educational experience but also a bit intimidating.

“So many kids from other schools take this so seriously and have such great project ideas,” she said after the recent competition at the Copley Marriott in Boston.

Grassetti said because of a chapter increase, Gloucester earned one slot for the Leadership Academy, which junior Joshua Lane will attend.

“Josh really earned this slot for being a strong student in the business department for the last three years. Josh is a hard working and business-minded student who will surely use the leadership academy to benefit the program next year,” said Grassetti. “He may also become Gloucester’s first DECA state officer as he has indicated he may want to campaign next year along with another student, Lauren Horne, who is just a sophomore next year.”

Gloucester DECA students will receive $1,000 from the Gloucester Educational Foundation for their trip to nationals, but they need to raise approximately $1,500 more. Anyone interested in donating to the program can contact Grassetti at


Twenty-six students from Manchester Essex Regional High School attended the state competition, and eight qualified for the international competition with six students as alternates.

Dean Martino, their DECA advisor, also noted that the group came home with 63 awards, medals and trophies. These awards range from winning in a category to scoring at a certain level on a written exam.

The International qualifiers and the categories they competed are: Eric Fossa, Buying and Merchandising Team Decision Making; Brian Gibson, Automotive Services Marketing; Charles Hoff, Retail Merchandising; Taylor Ketchum, Business Services Marketing; Alyssa Shepard, Food Marketing Services; Alex Thompson, Buying and Merchandising Team Decision Making; Zachary Trembowicz, Apparel and Accessory Marketing; and Austin Waldsmith, Automotive Services Marketing.

Students winning individual medals and trophies for the top scores in each of the exams and role plays are: Emily Davis, Eric Fossa, Brian Gibson, Charles Hoff, Hope Kincaid, Alyssa Shepard, Alex Thompson, Zachary Trembowicz, Camden Tuttle, and Austin Waldsmith.

Martino commended senior Brian Gibson for his perseverance in attending the contest.

Gibson is recovering from severe injuries incurred during a skiing accident just 12 days before the contest.

Gibson returned to school three days before the group departed for the Boston event and competed wearing an upper body brace.

“Brian went on to win four individual medals and first place overall in his category,” he said.

Students that made the stage for Top Ten at State Conference are Alura Carbrey, Troy Ciarametaro, Emily Davis, Eric Fossa, Brian Gibson, Charles Hoff, Taylor Ketchum, Alexandra Leventis, Alyssa Shepard, Alex Thompson, Devon Towle, Zachary Trembowicz, Camden Tuttle, and Austin Waldsmith.

Manchester Essex students are individually seeking sponsorships to defray costs. Any donations or sponsorships for an individual or the team can be directed to Manchester Essex Regional High School, Attn: Dean Martino, DECA Advisor, 36 Lincoln St., Manchester, MA 01944. Checks can be made out to MERHS DECA with “Team” on the memo line, or the specific student’s name. For more information, email Martino at

Gail McCarthy can be reached at 978-283-7000, x3445, or