Senior Profile: Zach Millenbruck and Aidan McGee

Seniors+Zach+Millenbruck+and+Aidan+McGee+took+home+first+place+in+the+integrated+marketing+category+of+the+2020+regional+DECA+competition.+Photo+Courtesy+of+Zach+Millenbruck+and+Aidan+McGee.+Art+by+Emma+Frizzell.+

Emma Frizzell

Seniors Zach Millenbruck and Aidan McGee took home first place in the integrated marketing category of the 2020 regional DECA competition. Photo Courtesy of Zach Millenbruck and Aidan McGee. Art by Emma Frizzell.

In total, six groups were called to the stage. As the Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA) judges named the fourth, third and second place winners, Aidan McGee and Zach Millenbruck, seniors, were standing, waiting and hoping their names would be the last announced. 

“Zach Millenbruck and Aidan McGee”

Loud cheers from other KHS DECA participants rang in the large room at Saint Louis University (SLU).

Millenbruck and McGee took home first place in the Integrated Marketing category at the DECA district competition, at SLU Feb. 11. While both were nervous for the outcome, Advanced Marketing teacher Bryce Bunton anticipated what would happen next. 

“I knew. I knew that they were going to be first,” Bunton said. “Sometimes I’m awfully nervous. I’m like, ‘Are we going to get in or are we not going to get in?’ I knew these guys had it locked down, and if they didn’t, I was going to throw a fit at somebody.”

I knew these guys had it locked down, and if they didn’t, I was going to throw a fit at somebody.”

— Bryce Bunton

Like all other DECA students nationwide, McGee and Millenbruck didn’t get the chance to go to regionals or nationals due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Bunton said he believes their project had the potential to win state in Kansas City and do well at nationals in Nashville. 

“[My] and Aidan’s [project] is a presentation that’s face-to-face in-person, and you can’t really recreate that through a laptop,” Millenbruck said. “We worked really hard on it, so it’s annoying.”

However, their work together was not confined to the Spring DECA competition. As a part of their two-hour Advanced Marketing class, both participated in running Pep Nation and leading the student section for fall varsity football games.

“As far as their work ethic, it was second to none. They were super self-directed and motivated, and the other thing that those guys have together is just that chemistry,” Bunton said. “That work ethic and chemistry that they had was fun to watch and some of the best that I’ve had in my class.”

McGee said he and Millenbruck have been friends since a mutual friend introduced them in sixth grade, and they always work well together. Bunton said he, Zach Kirk, fellow business teacher, and some seniors sat down to watch Millenbruck and McGee’s pitch for their marketing project about the Kentucky Derby Festival. Bunton said it was evident their campaign would be a winner. 

“Throughout high school and senior year, I’ve learned how to present myself in a professional way,” McGee said. “I think that’s probably the most helpful thing for the future: [knowing] how to present yourself in whatever it may be.”

We’ve always had a good bond, and I think we just know each other’s strengths and weaknesses. We are good at communicating with each other and kind of just being honest.”

— Aidan McGee

Bunton said the two play off of each other well, even when they are ad-libbing. They were excited to participate in this year’s DECA competition because their friends had done it the year before and they thought it sounded fun. 

“I think DECA had a positive impact on me because it was one of the harder projects I’ve had to put together, especially because this wasn’t just a school project where I wanted a grade,” Millenbruck said. “I actually wanted to do well in DECA and that was kind of our motivation, that we really wanted to get first.”

Next fall, Millenbruck will attend the University of Missouri and is interested in supply chain management. McGee is excited to be attending the Miami University, Oxford business school, and plans to stay in touch with Millenbruck.

“We’ve always had a good bond, and I think we just know each other’s strengths and weaknesses,” McGee said. “We are good at communicating with each other and kind of just being honest.”