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Thurston High School Business and Marketing Students Hold Ribbon Cutting for SpiritBox Business

Thurston High School Business and Marketing Students Hold Ribbon Cutting for SpiritBox Business
Allison McGowan

Thurston High School students have a new option for purchasing snacks and supplies thanks to a new vending machine business developed and run by DECA students leaders and business career and technical education (CTE) students.

The vending machine business is the first major project for students participating in the post-pandemic revival of the DECA program at Thurston High School. DECA provides extracurricular opportunities for students interested in business. 

Students in the business CTE pathway, led by Business Education CTE teacher Deborah Baker, spent the better part of a year conducting research, choosing a business, securing funding and marketing their business. The SpiritBox vending machine and its contents were chosen based on the findings of the CTE students' market research. The machine stocks snacks, personal items like deodorant, and Thurston High School branded clothing.

Funding for the project included grant funds awarded by the Springfield Education Foundation and federal ESSR funds.

In addition to getting real-world experience in business and marketing, students practiced public relations skills that build meaningful relationships with community partners and the media.

For the grand opening ribbon cutting held Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2023, Business Operations and Marketing students wrote a press release that resulted in media coverage and reached out to local school, business and government leaders, inviting them to attend. The students led the event by greeting their distinguished guests, escorting them to the SpiritBox and networking.

Over 60 guests attended the event, including representatives from school administration, the Springfield School Board, Springfield Chamber of Commerce and the Springfield City Council. Springfield Chamber of Commerce President Vonnie Mikkelsen and Springfield City Council President Joe Pishioneri spoke at the ribbon cutting, welcoming the students into the business community and encouraging their future efforts. 

School Board Director Nicole De Graff made the first purchase after the ribbon was cut.

After the ribbon cutting, students hosted a reception with refreshments provided by Thurston High School Culinary CTE students. Video Production CTE students captured the event on camera.

SpiritBox profits go to the DECA ASB fund and are reinvested in the business, as well as being used to offset out of pocket costs for students to attend DECA state and national events. Thurston High School business and DECA students will continue to manage and market the business, providing a wealth of hands-on career learning opportunities. 

Pictures: 1. Ja'voni Dixon shows off the SpiritBox to Springfield Chamber of Commerce President Vonnie Mikkelsen. 2. Springfield Education Foundation Board Chair Justin Martin purchases a t-shirt from the THS SpiritBox. 3. Springfield Chamber of Commerce President Vonnie Mikkelsen speaks at the THS SpiritBox ribbon cutting. 4. Springfield School Board Director Nicole De Graff makes first purchase from the SpiritBox. 5. Springfield Chamber of Commerce Director of Membership and Investor Relations, John Garbett welcomes guests to the SpiritBox ribbon cutting. 6. Springfield Board of Education Chair Jonathan Light speaks with THS Business Education teacher Deborah Baker and DECA student Jacob Eden.