Alexandria Area High School students will present to a panel of judges from Geneva Capital with the opportunity to win $21,000 in academic scholarships at the annual DECA Foundation Shark Tank event on Sunday, Jan. 17.

The first place group will receive $12,000, the second place group will receive $6,000 and the third place group will receive $3,000.

Distributive Education Clubs of America, or DECA, is a national organization preparing emerging business-minded leaders and entrepreneurs to be college and career ready. Each group of students has partnered with a local business and determined how to improve its marketing. There will be nine student groups presenting at the competition. These groups worked with Knute Nelson, Well and Company, Andria Theatre, Winning Edge Graphics, Travelers Inn, Zimny Insurance, Geneva Golf Course, Fat Daddy's and Alexandria Industries.

The Performing Arts Center has been reserved for the event, but there will be a limited number of in-person attendees. The event will also be available via livestream, and links will be located on the Alexandria School District website or Alexandria DECA social media pages.

In previous years, nearly all market research, interviews, surveys and focus groups were conducted face to face. This year, most meetings were held virtually. Alexandria Area High School DECA President Taylor Nelson said that this has been beneficial. The online format made it much easier to facilitate connections with people around the state and country.

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“I am looking forward to showing the public all of the amazing projects my class and I have been working hard on,” Nelson said.