“It was probably one of the coolest conferences I have ever attended in high school,” says Senior Lorenzo Venturella when describing his SCDC experience.
High school is full of opportunities to meet new people, discover your passion, and pursue your goals. On March 8th, 14 students from the Porter County Career and Technical Center boarded a school bus and hit the road for this three-day leadership conference in Indianapolis. These students had portrayed their strong knowledge in business and marketing concepts after placing in each of their categories at an earlier DECA contest. The goal of this trip was to build leadership, learn more about future careers, and most importantly, do well in the state DECA competition.
While attending the conference participants resided in the one of the biggest hotels in Indianapolis that was connected to the Marriott, where the conference was to be held. The first order of business was unloading the bus and heading to our test portion. This test included 100 questions regarding marketing and business concepts that the students had studied relating to their focus of choice. The events ranged from automotive to apparel and accessories with everything in between. The test took an hour and was divided into two of the ballrooms at the Marriott conference center. Once students completed their test, they met up with their advisor, Mrs. Jennifer Gaulin and chaperone, previous DECA advisor, Mrs. Judy Commers.
The night still contained a full agenda which including attending the opening ceremony.
Imagine 1,700 high school students dressed in business professional attire filing into a huge ballroom as Adam Levine music is playing. If you were able to get some type of image of this in your mind, then you have a pretty good idea of what that opening ceremony looked like.
It was very entertaining and kept the students involved and active in the presentations taking place, which is a hard thing to do especially with 1,700 high schoolers! The purpose of these presentations was to welcome all of the participating clubs from various counties in Indiana, introduce the district presidents, and announce the candidates running for the 2015-2016 state officer positions. Since it was a long day, students were content when the opening ceremony was released and they could go back to their rooms and rest for a busy tomorrow.
The next day had an early start for those who had role plays at 9:20 a.m. These role plays were designed to challenge the students to design a solution to a given problem and explain that solution to a board of judges. All participants had two role plays schedule throughout the day. If students were not doing a role play, they were attending a leadership workshop. Some of the workshops that could be attended were, “How to get the most out of your College Experience, Financial Planning, Dress your Best by Men’s Wear-house”, as well as a few others. These workshops were designed to provide those who attended with information to prepare them for college and teach them how to seal the deal in an interview.
After completing the required role plays and attending a workshop or two, there was free time allotted for students to take a stroll down to the Circle Center Mall. This gave students the opportunity to shop, relax, and hang out in the arcade before meeting their group at Champps for dinner.
The food at Champps was awesome and prepared everyone for the upcoming ceremony for the night. This ceremony was to award those who had participated in team events and give them their appropriate reward. While none of the students from the Career Center had a team event, they applauded their fellow peers from surrounding counties for achieving success in their event.
The night was still young and the memory making moments were still to come. As it was the last night at the conference, a fun night was organized for all the SCDC participants.
The entertainment including famous magician Jim Wand, inflatable obstacle courses, karaoke, and a photo booth. These activities provided the students the opportunity to make new friends and show off their singing skills. The perfect way to end this fun filled night was with pizza, as all good nights should end. The students prepared for bed that night, knowing that the next day would be filled with nail-biting results.
“There are few moments in life when you can feel like a rockstar on stage”, says Chase Galipo who received a medallion of competency in the Automotive services category.
Chase along with five other students from the Career Center achieved success and had the opportunity to stand on stage in front of over 1,000 peers and be recognized for their hard work.
While none of the students qualified for internationals in Orlando, Florida, it was a great experience for all and the learning opportunity of a life time. SCDC left participants with skills such as communication, organization, and most importantly having self-confidence. It is not always easy to do things on your own and communicate ideas to others, but SCDC strategically places students in situations that require such. By doing so, SCDC is preparing students to be future CEOs, managers, directors, or anything else that they set their minds to.
Most importantly, it is preparing them to be successful and builds a determination to work hard to achieve your goals. It is truly awesome that these students had the opportunity to participate in SCDC and have the ability to come home and share what they experienced with others.
While the students represented the Career Center at this conference, we all know that the Career Center represents the keyhole to endless opportunities and paves the road to success.
Below are students who placed at the state contest: