Top in the world and top of their class

Seven students go to DECA Internationals and place Top 20% in the world


photo by Janet Butler

DECA members received awards for being top 20% in the world at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, FL.

Macey Wahl, Staff Writer

This year, Millard West DECA had seven students place in top 20% in the World including Nick and Gabe Anderson, Elise Fricke, Meghan Shuette, Brie Wakefield, Nash Ward and Brandon Zohlen. When it comes to being a leader, taking the initiative, and speaking in public, students are far from prepared. A club here at Millard West can change this. DECA, the Distributive Education Clubs of America, helps builds leadership and communication skills for many students.

Business teacher, Janet Butler, is the head of DECA. She assists them and travels with them to competitions throughout the year. This year they got second overall at the State competition and traveled to Orlando, Florida, on April 27th to the 30th for the 2019 International DECA Competition at the Orange County Convention Center.

To prepare for Internationals, the students met numerous times a week and worked on projects which they would present in Orlando and practiced solving business problems. All students compete in events which are aligned with the National Curriculum Standard. Students participate in a written evaluation along with an interactive competition judged by a professional of that industry.

“There are around 20-30 kids in each competitive area at State DECA,” Butler said. “At Internationals, there are about 150-200 in each area. To qualify for Internationals, they have to win in the top three places for individual events at State. For written projects, they have to be in the top two places.”

The students went to opening and closing sessions with keynote speakers. Students compete by presenting written projects or by taking a test and doing two role plays. International qualifiers competed in the Franchise Business Plan, Hotel and Lodging, Start Up Business Plan, Entrepreneurship, Finance Operations Research and Automotive Services events.

Nash Ward, a student here at Millard West, competed in Internationals in the Finance Operations and Research category. He presented a cause marketing project for First National Bank for Internationals in Orlando.

“So there are two different things you can do in DECA,” Ward said. “One of them is role play events where you’re given business propositions and you’re supposed to solve them, then the other is a project where you propose a business plan.”

Elise Fricke, a senior here at Millard West, is the Co-President of DECA and competes in Hotel and Tourism. She competed by doing role plays along with a written test. At State and at Nationals, she won the Bobby Foehlinger Scholarship for $1,000. This scholarship was given out to two DECA members in memorial of Bobby Foehlinger, a DECA member at Ralston High School who was killed in a car accident in May 2003. The purpose of the scholarship is to give students passion through students organizations.

“I was convinced by the President of DECA at the time to join and DECA has helped me so much, I’ve met so many friends and learned how to think on my feet,” Fricke said. “I’ve learned how to speak in public and be a leader. It also changed what I wanted to do in life, from Health Science to Business.”

Students build life long friendships and gain necessary skills in life by joining. It changes and forms their future, and it only takes a few hours every week. It creates future leaders and successful businessmen and women.