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A brand-new scoreboard is now in place at Pewaukee High School’s soccer field, thanks in large part to the efforts of students who helped secure sponsorship funding through their sports marketing class.

The class is taught by Pewaukee High School business teacher Randy Staus, also the boys varsity soccer coach.

To raise the funds, Staus said the students had to come up with a sales presentation, figure out sponsorship levels and rehearse their pitch.

Refining their message took practice, so Staus said the kids rehearsed in front of students, teachers and school board members before taking their show on the road.

And when they did, it wasn't like all the businesses and organizations rushed to greet them with checkbooks open and pen in hand. But Staus said that's all part of the learning process.

"They get frustrated because they get no's," Staus said. "They think right away they’re going to get a yes, and everybody’s going to be done, and that’s not the way it’s going to work. You’re going to get five or six no's before you can get someone that’ll think about it."

Kevin Dethloff, a student and soccer player, said he learned that lesson when his group went to a local soccer club and got turned down.

"We thought they would donate money to us, but they didn’t, so we had to change our plans and ask another company," Dethloff said.

In the end, the students ended up getting commitments from the Pewaukee High School Booster Club, which kicked in two-thirds of the cost of the $20,000 scoreboard, and Doc's Dry Dock, which contributed the other third. Both have advertising on the bottom of the board.

The new Daktronics scoreboard, installed earlier this month, replaces an older one that Staus said was on its last legs. For example, it would often fail in a big wind gust.

“Sometimes the communication with the scoreboard in the press box wouldn’t work, and it would click off,” Staus said. “And then we’d have to reset it.”

The project was a significant part of the spring semester class, which featured two sections and a total of about 28 students.

The school's soccer teams aren't the only ones who've benefited from the sports marketing class. The previous school year, the class raised $35,000 for a new scoreboard for the football field.

The 17-year-old Dethloff, who'll be a senior this fall, said the most enjoyable part of the project was working in a group and creating the presentation with his peers.

"We just learned a lot about real-world stuff like communication with actual companies," Dethloff said. "And obviously, because I play soccer, I really wanted the new scoreboard for my senior year, so I worked pretty hard on it."

In fact, Dethloff said he's mulling the idea of exploring sports marketing as a career choice.

"Next year I’m doing Insight, which is a new program that we have at our school, and my mentor actually has a profession in the sports marketing industry, so I’m going to be talking with him about what his job is like and see if I’m interested," Dethloff said.

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