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McHenry County College Hosts 10th Annual Marketing Challenge for Area High School Students

More than 40 area high school students participated in McHenry County College’s 10th annual Marketing Challenge on Friday, April 9. The challenge invites area high school students to create marketing plans for a local business. This year’s event was sponsored by Read Between the Lynes bookstore in Woodstock.

As part of the challenge, students created a plan to convert the online book buying habits of the 15 to 25-year-old demographic from corporate sites to Read Between the Lynes’ online store. The students analyzed the problem to create solutions and were judged based on the quality of their presentations and creativity of their solutions.

“Students submitted videos of their presentations, which were used for the first two rounds of the competition,” said Dr. Sandy Domagalski, instructor of business management and marketing at MCC. “The final round was held virtually via Zoom on April 9, where the final three teams presented live for the judges.”

Four area schools participated this year: Cary Grove, Crystal Lake Central, Crystal Lake South, and Prairie Ridge. Participating students were chosen by their high school teachers.

In third place was Cary Grove Team 2 led by teacher is Theresa Miller. Students on the team included Blake Stawarz, Katie Zurzolo, Lukas Etter, and Julia Howdeshell.

Coming in second place was Crystal Lake South Team 2 guided by teacher Shane Finley. This was a one-student team led by Victoria Bishop.

Earning first place in the competition was Crystal Lake South Team 1, also led by Finley. Students on the team included Anna Chang, Elise Gorman, William Wickersty, and Gabriella Polus.

“I enjoy having my students compete in the annual MCC Marketing Challenge because it gives them an opportunity to put our curriculum into action,” said Finley, who teaches a variety of business and marketing classes at Crystal Lake South. “The experience is powerful because students are actually creating ideas and marketing strategies for a real local business. They get to practice important soft skills related to everyday employment but also get a sense of what a marketing career might look like. I wish all of my marketing students were able to compete each year!”

Finley, who is in his third year with D155 and 13th year in education, said this is the first time since his employment with the district that his teams have taken both first and second place.

For more information about MCC’s marketing programs and certificates, visit