Six DECA students earn spot at national conferenceSix Douglas County students head to DECA’s International Career Development Conference in Atlanta this weekend.
By: Anna Kurth, The Daily Telegram
Six Douglas County students head to DECA’s International Career Development Conference in Atlanta this weekend.
Students from Northwestern and Superior high schools earned spots at the international conference with their showing at the state conference in March.
Tyler Forsythe, Donnie Hissa, Alex Baillie and Amber Gurske of Northwestern and Brandon Slick of Superior compete at the event. Lindsey Schiff and Meghan Ziegel, of Northwestern also qualified, but Schiff cannot attend. Ziegel competed in an event that isn’t judged at the national level; instead, she earned a chance to vote for national DECA officers.
DECA is an association for students interested in pursuing careers in marketing, management or entrepreneurship.
At the national conference, students compete before business professionals working in the field in which they are competing.
DECA offers about 40 competition events and students often choose two events in which to compete. Often they’ll do an individual event and a team public relations or civic consciousness event, said Jody Forsythe, Northwestern DECA adviser.
At NHS, many of the students pick their projects based on subjects that have affected them or loved ones. In the past students have done cancer or diabetes awareness campaigns because they’ve known someone affected by the diseases, she said.
Often they combine their competition projects with activities in the community, she said.
Every year, the club puts on a breakfast with Santa in December, a middle school dance, an alumni reception, various community service informational projects and other activities. DECA students include what they’ve done for these events in their competition manuals, she said.
Hissa and Tyler Forsythe did an entrepreneurship promotion project that took them into the community and Northwestern Middle School. They sold tiger paw shaped clocks, and made presentations about entrepreneurship at the middle school. They helped sixth grade teachers at the middle school run a virtual entrepreneur project, the Lemonade Stand, in their classes. The Lemonade Stand is an online computer simulation that allows students to try their hand at business by setting up a virtual lemonade stand and attempting to make a profit. Then they spoke about their project at state.
DECA students who do civic consciousness or public relations projects turn in a 30-page manual for judges to evaluate and giving a 10 minute presentation summing up what they’ve done for their project, Jody Forsythe said.
Students turn in the manuals and give their presentations at state. If they advance to nationals they use the intervening month-and-a-half to fine tune their manuals and polish their speeches, she said.
Baillie qualified in both her individual and partner events. The Northwestern DECA chapter president made a manual of all club related activities during the past year. She also created an anti-tobacco campaign with Schiff.
“I have had a lot of fun,” she said. “DECA really prepares you for the future and it’s a great club to be in, in high school.”
Slick is competing in the food marketing category. He completed two case studies and must complete a written test on economics and general marketing when he gets to the national competition, said Paul Zollver, Superior DECA adviser.
Besides competing, students attending nationals participate in leadership workshops and visit booths set up by corporations and colleges across the nation to learn about schooling and job opportunities. The conference also features a fashion show that focuses on the latest fashions for teens and young adults, Forsythe said.
“It’s pretty intense. It’s a wonderful opportunity for kids to network with (people from) other states and find out what’s out there for them,” she said.
Top finishers at the national competition take home scholarships donated by businesses involved in the conference.
A small percentage of local DECA students make it to the international conference level each year. NHS’ chapter has 170 members and SHS’ chapter has 150 students, but only seven qualified for the conference in Atlanta.
Statewide 350 students qualified. An estimated 13,000 high school students from across the United States are expected to attend the international conference.
Anna Kurth covers education. Call her at (715) 395-5019 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.