It’s time to make an impact, and members of the Mercer Island High School DECA Club are leading the charge.
With school back in session remotely on Sept. 2, the business and marketing students — who thrive as part of the career and technical student organization — want to shine a positive light on online learning.
Instead of simply getting through the virtual studies they were faced with when the pandemic hit in the spring, they feel it’s now time for all students to experience growth and development in the remote realm.
They want to DoMInate Virtually, which is the moniker of their marketing campaign that they announced to the Mercer Island community in an online letter as the school year was on the horizon.
“When we switched to online learning, people were kind of down about it because we didn’t get to do all those fun (on-campus) activities. We are starting this campaign to get people in a positive mindset and kind of get excited about online learning, which is something we really need right now,” said junior Kayla Friedman, one of the MIHS DECA vice presidents.
Senior Niteeka Narayan, one of the DECA co-presidents and campaign leader, said that students were a little disappointed, anxious and scared when they switched to the remote platform. DoMInate Virtually is a nice re-branding of online learning and they want to start the school year off right, she added.
Narayan said that with all the planning that’s been happening over the summer, “I’m sure the teachers are gonna do a great job, and I know all the students have a lot of faith in them.”
International entrepreneurship class instructor Jen McLellan, who co-advises the 250-student, six-officer DECA club with Shannon Tapp, said that teachers are set on delivering the best possible instruction they can this year. She said the students will have the options of watching teachers talking, viewing videos, perusing articles and more during their virtual learning experience.
Friedman and Narayan — who are part of the fifth largest DECA chapter in Washington — have helped lead the way in pushing DoMInate Virtually on social media, handing out fliers and discussing the campaign in the community. Road signs and banners have also been created to be placed in highly trafficked areas on the Island.
“I’m excited to start school and there’s a lot of positives that come with online school, for example, you can do it anywhere. You can be sitting by the pool with your computer doing school, which is a lot more exciting to me than sitting in a classroom,” said Friedman, who added that she and a couple of her friends plan to meet in person — while social distancing and wearing masks — once a week in one of their backyards to study together and connect.
While studying online last school year, Narayan found herself bored sitting at home day after day. She missed her friends and the in-person school atmosphere.
Along with embracing remote learning this year, Narayan, too, plans to sometimes sit on her deck with two close friends — also social distancing and masking up — have lunch and work on an online class together.
“I think studying in very small groups together and being safe, I think that’s some way to replicate sitting in class with your friends,” she said. “If people don’t do that, it’ll just make it much harder to be happy about online school. You need something like that, you need to see your friends in some safe manner in order to stay happy.”