The school-based enterprise at Owatonna High School, in operation for eight years, was among 285 school-based enterprises in the U.S. achieving Gold Level Certification or Gold Level Recertification this year and will be recognized at DECA's International Career Development Conference in Orlando, Fla.

The students who worked on the certification were Morgan Malo, Amber Holte and Taylor Gaveske, with assistance from their adviser, Scott Pierce.

A school-based enterprise (SBE) is an entrepreneurial operation in a school setting that provides goods and services to meet the needs of the market. Students manage and operate SBEs as hands-on learning laboratories that integrate national curriculum standards in marketing, finance, hospitality and management. For more than four decades, marketing educators and DECA advisers have used this educational tool to provide students with learning experiences that reinforce classroom instruction, enhance skill development and prepare students for college and careers.

SBEs can be certified at three levels: Bronze, Silver or Gold. In order to apply for the certification, SBEs must submit extensive documentation that demonstrates their adherence to various marketing and retail standards. After the documentation is submitted, a review committee evaluates the documentation to determine which level of certification has been achieved.

DECA Inc. has more than 215,000 members in all 50 United States, the District of Columbia, Canada, China, Germany, Guam, Mexico, Puerto Rico and Spain. DECA prepares students for careers in marketing, finance, hospitality and management in high school and colleges around the globe.