As the first semester draws to an end at The Porter County Career and Technical Center, the DECA season is just beginning for the Entrepreneurship and Strategic Marketing classes taught by Jennifer Gaulin. This is just one organization among many that the Career Center has to offer to students enrolled in the business and marketing programs.
DECA is a business organization that prepares students to be leaders, entrepreneurs, and teaches strong management skills. Years ago, it once stood for Distributive Education Clubs of America. While it no longer holds that meaning, it still holds the purpose of teaching participants how to communicate ideas and what is expected from future employers.
The DECA competition categories are divided into career clusters ; Business Management and Administration, Entrepreneurship, Marketing, Finance, and Hospitality and Tourism. Within each of these clusters you might find events such as Human Resource Management, Entrepreneurship Innovation Plan, Apparel and Accessories Marketing, Accounting Applications, and Hotel and Lodging Management
Once students have selected an event to compete in, they begin practicing questions related to your career cluster and perform role plays that you may be put in if you were actually in a career related field. The participating students from the Career Center did exactly that on DECA Day which was to serve as a practice competition for the upcoming area contest. Students from both Entrepreneurship and Strategic Marketing came together to help prepare themselves for the upcoming contest and to get to know the other class better.
Unfortunately, this year's area competition, originally scheduled for January 10th, was cancelled due to poor weather conditions. That however didn't stop the determined organization from finding some way for the students to let their hard work pay off. On Thursday, January 15th students involved in DECA at the Career Center had one hour to complete a 100 question test that would determine if they would advance to state competition or not. This year, state competition will be held in Indianapolis from March 8th- March 10th.
In order to qualify to go to state, you must place in the top seven of your category. The Career Center is proud to be sending several students that achieved that goal. This year, 14 students will be representing the Career Center at State Contest. The students placed in the following order:
First Place: Jarred Root (Business Services Management) from Boone Grove
Third Place: Nadia Milner (Retail Merchandising) from Portage, Rachel Meeks (Hotel & Lodging Management) from Morgan Township, Evan Bauer & Nathan Legler (Sports & Entertainment Marketing Team) from Valparaiso /Washington Township
Fourth Place: Molly Cain (Business Services Management) from Morgan
Fifth Place: Chase Galipeau (Automotive Services Marketing) from Valpo
Sixth Place: Lorenzo Venturella (Marketing Management) from Boone Grove, Jacob Kerr (Sports & Entertainment Marketing) from Hobart
Seventh Place: Jordan Vann (Accounting Applications) from Boone Grove, Samuel Wittmer (Business Finance) from Kouts, Hannah White (Apparel & Accessories Marketing) from Wheeler, Brooke Regalado (Retail Merchandising) from Washington Township Mollee Duh (Quick Serve Restaurant Management) from Portage, Chase Braden (Restaurant & Food Service Management) from Morgan
By participating in DECA, students on learning a variety of things. Lorenzo Venturella, a senior from Boone Grove says, "I've learned a lot of valuable on the job experiences by being put into quick thinking scenarios. DECA has given me the opportunity to assess a variety of problems and use my leadership skills to solve them." Chase Braden, a senior from Morgan Township added that DECA put him in situations in which he was forced to leave his comforter zone and encourage him to try new things and always put his best foot forward.
The students however, are not the only ones that have a great experience with DECA. Mrs. Jennifer Gaulin is excited to be a first year DECA advisor after having participating in the organization for two years herself in high school. When asked what she thought the students gained from DECA, she responded by saying, "DECA is a great tool for students to apply their knowledge they've learned in all areas of business. Each competitor gets a real situation that has happened in their area and they have to solve the problem that's faced. No matter how great of a problem solver the student may be, they have to be able to present it in a professional manner to the judges and discuss certain performance indicators. Each student will use these skills as they continue in anything they do."
Mrs. Gaulin is most excited about taking her placing students to state because it will be her first time going as an advisor. "It will be a learning experience for all of us and I've got some great kids going," she states.
All in all, DECA is just another great example of one of the numerous opportunities that the Career Center offers to students. Whether it's learning how to heal in injury or how to sell a multimillion dollar company, the Career Center has the tools that can help any student have a successful future.