All hands on DECA

On Mar. 15-17, 2013 over 3,000 high school students gathered in Grand Rapids for Michigan’s 70th Annual DECA Competition. Each of these students had the opportunity to compete for their chance to represent Michigan at DECA’s international competition in Anaheim, California which takes place in April.

“DECA is a group of students that are interested in all different areas of business and it allows them great opportunities to network, to compete, to meet a lot of people and to get scholarships,” DECA advisor Melissa Deboer said.

 DECA focuses primarily on helping students that are going into business or marketing careers become successful. During the three days that students are at DECA they participate in different sessions and programs to help them develop leadership abilities. It also helps students create a positive outlook and leads to a successful career path in their futures.        

“I think it helps students think on their feet,” Deboer said. “The way it works is that they take a test on their occupational area, so if you chose hospitality and tourism you would take a test on hospitability and tourism. That’s the easy part. The hard part is when they give you ten minutes with a case study and they say ‘Hey here’s the scenario for this hotel, you figure out how you’re going to promote it to a group of senior citizens’ and then you have to present it to a judge in a few minutes. So you have to think on your feet, you have to be out of the box and creative. Most of the students are going to be doing the same thing so you want to be the person that does something different.”

Students have the chance to compete in over 40 events. These events are designed by the leaders in the field of marketing education and contribute to the development of skills that are necessary for people pursuing careers in marketing, management, merchandising and entrepreneurship.

“It will help me in the future because it will give me a good sense of the kind of jobs I could do in the marketing and business field,” senior Keenan Hammer said.

Students also have the chance to explore different colleges. Representatives from universities all over the state such as Ferris State University and Northwood University and representatives from the marketing industry such as Men’s Warehouse and Nike come to the conference to provide students with real life information that can help the students while planning their futures.

“I’m not planning on going into business but I think that whatever career you are going into you will most likely have to make a sales pitch so DECA is helpful in preparing for that,” Schuette said. “It helps with presentation skills and I think having basic business knowledge will help people in any career.”

The students that will be representing DHS in Anaheim, California for the International Competition in April are Abby Currie, Jack Flanagan, Jackie Ito, Elizabeth Meier, Billy Schuette, Vikram Shanker and Nick Smith.

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Courtney Taylor

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