DECA students coordinate Chick-fil-A’s bash

By LYNETTE SOWELL
Cove Leader-Press 

There was music, dancing, cheers, martial arts demos, food sampling, face painting, crafts, giveaways and more at Thursday night’s Back to School Bash held at Copperas Cove Chick-fil-A. 
The two hour-event has been held annually since the store opened in 2014, and this year, it took place due to the efforts of several Copperas Cove High School student members of the DECA Club, said Charlotte Heinze, who along with being the store’s marketing director is also a teacher and the DECA advisor at the high school. 
Heinze was particularly happy, not only for the turnout, but because this year’s event wasn’t rained out like last year. 
The party has become part of the marketing plan for the DECA team of Ariana Wilson, Hailey Hawkins and Ashley Wilson. 
“We worked on this for two months,” said Wilson, noting that a number of local businesses came on board. The DECA team’s project focuses on customer engagement, and the customer engagement was evident Thursday evening. 
The first 100 children received Chick-fil-A bags, each containing a lunchbox, pencils, bookmark, football, as well as coupon for a free Chick-fil-A ice cream cone, with most of the goodies coming courtesy of H-E-B, Wilson said. One thing they’re trying to do, Wilson said, is boost customer engagement with the Chick-fil-A app, and all that comes with it, like sample offers and earning points and free items with purchases. 
They also worked to get the word out to customers about the event via flyers in the store along with connecting with customers via the store’s Facebook group. 
On Thursday evening, a variety of community organizations came out to connect with the community, with the Citizens Police Academy alumni offering Kiddo cards with the assistance of the Copperas Cove Police Department, as well as Cinergy Cinema, GymKix, and the ASYMCA also on hand to share about what they offer. The Five Hills Scholarship Program royalty helped children make crafts and also helped with face painting. 
Rebecca Garris, 17, is a CCHS senior and runs Garris Entertainment and DJ’ed for the event Thursday evening. She, along with Brandon Parton and Isaiah Hawkins, also make up a DECA team, this one for Business Growth, They, too, Parton said, helped market the event for Chick-fil-A like they do with other events by using platforms like Facebook and Instagram to try to draw crowds in. 
“This is great,” said Amanda Thomas, who brought her two children, Xavier and James, on Thursday evening. “We love what they do for the community and I was excited to see all the different things the kids can do locally.” The boys, ages eight and six, enjoyed the face painting as well as the bounce house and the martial arts demonstration. 

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