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Successful DECA District Conference as Record Students Qualify for State


On Feb. 7, DECA had 78 students compete in the DECA District Conference, with 38 of them qualifying for state. (photo submitted)

As countless people scramble to prepare for their events, senior Maddie Kraus’s mind races as the sound of the buzzing crowd echoes in her ears as she waits to compete. She is waiting her turn for her role play at the DECA District Competition. Similarly, 77 other FHN DECA students waited for their turn to compete.

“It’s not just a club,” DECA advisor Mike Freedline said. “When you go into the workforce or college you need to join a professional organization and start networking and it shows the students how to apply what they’re learned in class into real world situations. That’s what the role plays are all about, things that really happen.”

Leaving early Wednesday, DECA students stayed at the conference for hours, arriving back at FHN around 3:30 p.m. During the conference, students competed in a variety of events, both partner and individual, from marketing communication to retail merchandising to financial consulting events.

“I think it’s a really good way to introduce you to what you will be doing in the real world if you go into business, and it helps you with your presentation skills in general, not just for later in life, but also for now,” junior Katie Leuthauser said.

The DECA conference not only allowed students to show off their marketing, finance, hospitality and management skills, but the DECA conference also gave students an opportunity to connect with others and improve communication skills.

“It’s a good and fun experience, but I think it can also boost people’s’ confidence and give them skills to be able to talk in front of people and on the spot,” senior Maddie Kraus said. “I’ve definitely gotten more confident in being able to talk to people on the spot, because that’s something that I get a little bit nervous about.”

Aside from learning business and communication skills, many students from FHN also took home awards, with half of the FHN DECA competitors qualifying for the DECA State Competition in March. They also set a new school record for students qualifying to DECA State, as 38 out of the 78 FHN DECA competitors qualified. If anyone qualifies at state, then they will get to move on to DECA’s International Career Development Conference in Atlanta, Georgia on April 21-24.

“I think it’s definitely a good experience,” Leuthauser said. “Even if you don’t make it to state, it still gives you a lot of skills and experiences that will be helpful later on. It might take a while to study and plan, but overall, it is definitely a good experience to prepare you and teach you about the business world.”