A Bartlesville area high school student and DECA member, Ronnie Veit, successfully competed at the State Career Development Conference and won first place for the creative marketing category.

Veit, a marketing management student at Tri County Tech in Bartlesville, is completing his high school senior year via Epic Charter Schools, an online high school. His path through K-12 education has been unconventional including being home educated through his sophomore year, experiencing a successful stint at Thunderbird Challenge Program in Pryor and completing his high school education online and at Tri County Tech.

Veit chose to focus on Tulsa Pop Kids because it is an organization in which his family is very involved. His parents and two other couples in the Tulsa area organized Tulsa Pop Kids in 2017 to bring together two of their passions: literacy and pop culture.

According to data provided by the Oklahoma Policy Institute, 61 percent of Oklahoma third graders scored below the proficient level on the Oklahoma Core Curriculum Test in reading for the 2016-2017 test period. Tulsa Pop Kids wants to help increase literacy rates of children through pop culture and entertainment and they work towards that goal by providing age-appropriate comic books to elementary schools and after-school programs.

Veit determined that in order for Tulsa Pop Kids to continue being successful at fundraising and grant acquisition, they needed to grow their brand awareness in the community. Veit’s presentation at CDC about Tulsa Pop Kids focused on the creative ways the Tulsa nonprofit utilizes to create brand awareness and grow its social media reach for the purpose of expanding its impact in Green Country.

Those ways include building a new large prop each year that goes on tour to local schools and after-school programs, creating and hosting regular blockbuster movie red-carpet premiere events, and engaging the community in comic book drives and fundraisers. Most recently, Tulsa Pop Kids made a splash in Tulsa and the surrounding areas by providing cosgrams (a dozen Chick-fil-A cookies delivered by Spiderman, Batman, or Snow White) to various individuals including the Tulsa County Election Board, Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum, and Paul Ross of American Waste Control to name a few.

They also held a mock wedding for Spiderman and Mary Jane as a Valentine’s Day event for die-hard fans. Tulsa Pop Kids uses social media, primarily Facebook posts and Facebook Live, to share these unique experiences with the community.

During his project, Veit interviewed members of the Tulsa Pop Kids Board of Directors and made recommendations on how to further their social media reach via Instagram. Veit has personal experience in growing an Instagram following as he has more than doubled his own following by gaining 1700+ new followers over the last two months. He used his knowledge of how the social media platform works when advising Tulsa Pop Kids on how to expand their reach further. He included this as one of his recommendations in the presentation he developed in the Marketing Management class at Tri County Tech.

Tri County Tech can boast multiple winners at the 2019 CDC competition. Under the direction of their teacher and DECA advisor Carrie Miller, the marketing management class brought 11 first place, five second place, and one third place medals back to Bartlesville. This isn’t the first time the Tri County Tech DECA chapter has experienced success. During Miller’s 11 year tenure as the marketing management teacher, the local DECA chapter has enjoyed first place winners and international qualifiers every year.

When asked about what role literacy plays in the success of the marketing management program, Miller indicated that reading comprehension is critical for the success of her students in researching and preparing for the CDC competition.

The next stop for Veit and his fellow DECA international qualifiers is the DECA International Career Development Conference held in Orlando, Florida, April 27-30. According to the DECA website, 18,000 high school students, advisors, businesspersons, and alumni will gather to develop knowledge and skills for college and careers. During the International CDC, qualifiers will again get the opportunity to make their presentation and compete against fellow qualifiers from all 50 states and seven countries.