By Amanda Vale and Imani Boyd
Derrick Lyons is the new marketing teacher as well as the DECA club adviser at the school. Lyons has the unique role of teaching at Encinal High School as well, while also being the DECA adviser for both high schools. Each day he drives across the island from AHS to EHS during third period, and alternates running DECA every other week at each school.
Long-time marketing teacher JoAna Sydow died in December of 2013. Lyons, who worked closely with Sydow when he taught at EHS, considered Sydow to be a mentor. “Sydow put me under her wing and helped me through the program. She was a sweet spirit,” Lyons said about Sydow.
Lyons says he was impressed with Sydow’s dedication, even after she was diagnosed with cancer. “I took five of her kids to finals when she had breast cancer,” Lyons said. “She would miss her chemo appointments to be with her students.”
Lyons says he misses Sydow. “Just the smile on her face was bright. She was the fashion queen,” he said. After her death, Lyons said he wanted to take over teaching marketing and DECA because he wanted to maintain the strong program that Sydow had established.
Although he has a rigorous schedule due to being both a Hornet and a Jet, Lyons says each day he is focused on his main goal: to prepare students for challenges they are going to face in the future outside of school.
Lyons taught at EHS for 10 years before becoming a Hornet. “I love messing with the rivalry by wearing Hornet clothing to EHS and wearing Jet clothing to AHS,” Lyons said.
The DECA clubs for both schools will fundraise separately, Lyons said, but students from both schools will go to conferences together.
Lyons expressed his hopes for his students’ futures saying, ”Nobody really gives students the knowledge of what they really need to know. Business classes are going to allow for you to think about what you need to know when you get out of school.”
Senior Jackie Carlise recently joined DECA. “Compared to other clubs that are more focused toward helping others, DECA focuses on helping ourselves,” Carlise said.
In past years, the DECA club ran the Hive, selling food and raising money for the club. “That would have already been open if we would have already had our funding,” Lyons explained. He hopes to see the Hive running again because he thinks it is a great opportunity to fundraise while also helping students hone business management skills.
Students take marketing for a variety of reasons, many of them career-related.“I took it because I want to major in business in college,” senior Bryanna Cacioppo said. “It will give me an insight into what the course will be like in college,” she added.
Lyons was introduced to business from a very young age. “My mother ran a child care for 32 years so I grew up around them running a business.” Before becoming a teacher, Lyons attended Laney College for two years and transferred to Missouri Valley College and Lindenwood University, where he played football. “I had the opportunity to play, but I knew what football would present, so I chose an education instead of going for the NFL,” he said.