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By Marie Perry
Communications Director for the School District of Belleville 

DECA Students Step Up to Help Healthcare Workers


December 10, 2020

Jenna Banfield

COVID-19 has come both with its challenges and its opportunities - chances to find new ways to overcome hurdles, be positive, and find the light in a time when we all need hope. Jenna Banfield, Belleville High School's DECA President and high school senior, has chosen to look for the light and use her leadership role to serve those who serve us each and every day. Jenna is focusing her efforts on letting our healthcare workers know how special they are as they administer to the sick, tirelessly, day in and day out.

This fall, Jenna was concerned about going into her senior year at Belleville High School knowing that her DECA club leadership role would look different as she and her classmates would be studying and learning virtually to help do their part in keeping the spread of COVID down. However, this change in "how" they would learn didn't diminish her desire to serve her community in accordance with the mission of DECA. She began by meeting with her DECA club Advisor, Mr. Erik Farrar and the DECA Communications Director, Cecilia Grefsheim, to brainstorm ideas to make changes to their program to accommodate COVID-19 restrictions.

Jenna says, "Usually, as a chapter we would do multiple fundraising projects, the largest being DECA trivia night, to get students involved in creating a community-centered event that allows them to take on different planning and leadership roles."

But, this year was going to be different...traditional in-person events are not safe to hold, so Jenna saw an opportunity to do something both timely and meaningful and in keeping with the integrity of their DECA chapter.

"As President, it is important to me to give students who are involved in DECA the opportunity to still be involved in their community and become leaders through different service projects," she said.

And so, she decided there was an opportunity to serve the members of the Belleville Community who have been serving us all along since the pandemic broke out in Wisconsin.

To this end, Jenna, Cecilia, Mr. Farrar, and the members of the Belleville High School DECA club (with the approval of their principal, Mrs. Schmitz), have been working tirelessly to thank healthcare workers for their community service to Belleville. This special project has allowed DECA chapter members, and other high school students, to become involved in their local community by reaching out to those people who have put themselves on the front line during the pandemic. The healthcare workers have been going above and beyond in their efforts to keep everyone safe and the DECA students at Belleville High School are leading an organized effort to show just how grateful they are for their service.

This week, the Belleville High School DECA club is working together to create a "thank you" video edited from submissions made by Belleville High School students and staff. Cecilia's work as Communications Director gathering the words of gratitude from her fellow classmates and teachers have made Jenna's idea for making a positive impact on their community a reality. As they are putting the polishing touches on their team's efforts, Jenna is able to simplify their work in a few words, "During these challenging times, it is important to come together as a school/community and send a positive message to everyone who needs a little hope- things will get better and we appreciate everyone who has done their part to keep our community safe."

Cecilia Grefsheim

Their final "thank you" video will be sent to medical workers at UW Children's Hospital, UW Health Belleville Family Medicine Clinic, GL Rehabilitation Clinic, St. Mary's, and Meriter to spread some positivity and show gratitude in a time when hope is needed to stay strong, and acknowledge the good work being done in our community. And in turn, we are grateful for the ideas and hard efforts of Belleville seniors Jenna Banfield and Cecilia Grefsheim, along with the members of the Belleville High School DECA chapter, for seeing an opportunity to serve their community even when they had to face unusual challenges to get it done! These students are excited to see how their video lifts the spirits of those who are doing their part to keep their community healthy during a difficult time.


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