By Steven Kelly, DAHS senior
While most of DeForest was still sleeping on the morning of Tuesday, March 19, 2013, high school DeForest DECA students were loading the bus on their way to the State Career Development Conference in Lake Geneva. Despite it being early, students’ nerves kept them awake as they got their last-minute studying done. They prepared for months for this competition in hopes of qualifying for the International Career Development Conference at the end of April. DECA chapters from all over the state brought as many students as they could in hopes of claiming those top few spots in each event that qualify for internationals.
At the conference, which took place at the Grand Geneva Hotel & Resort, students competed in a variety of marketing and business events. Upon arrival, students who had prepared a project in advance had go to work right away: handing in their lengthy papers, as well as giving their 15-minute presentation in front of a judge. Those without a project attended career workshops on marketing, promotion and entrepreneurship. On the second day, all students competed in their respective series event. These events consist of either a marketing or a finance cluster test, as well as two role plays. Role plays are fictional scenarios related to each specific event that are given to the competitors that day, along with required topics that require students to show their knowledge in their skill area. The role plays place students in the position of a businessperson in their event field, such as a marketing consultant or an accounting clerk. The students are given ten minutes to prepare the best course of action for their scenario. Then they present their solutions to a judge (the boss), as well as demonstrate their knowledge according to specific performance indicators.
Wednesday night, students dressed up for the project awards dinner, immediately followed by the DECA dance. Thursday morning, everyone attended the series events awards session immediately followed by the farewell speeches of the State Officers. Local DECA member Riley Pink, who was the State Vice President of Public Relations, gave an excellent and heartfelt speech—his last as a state officer.
Thursday afternoon was departure time, which was bittersweet for all of the students. After three days of competition and anticipation, it was time to head home. But the road wasn’t over for Mari Fletcher, Will Peters IV, Avery Williams, Sam Pink, Anna Sausen, Riley Pink, Steven Kelly, Lauren Bayer, Dani Skaife, Nicole Gartland and Taylor Benson who qualified to move on to the international conference in Anaheim, California. Other participants at the state conference included Jess Beardsley, Brandon Clarke, McKenna Gates, Ben Marquardt, Ryan Miller, Brianna Mowbray, Izzy Renteria, Allie Reynolds, Aliah Schultz, and Cassidy Grell.