This week, students that are a part of DECA got a chance to compete in the annual State Career Development Conference.
Right now, in the high school division alone, DECA has over 200,000 members across the globe. That spans over 35,000 schools.
And four of those schools are located right here in Sioux Falls.
Monday, those high school students involved with DECA competed in the 2019 State Career Development Conference. It gives them the opportunity to learn leadership skills and an idea of what career path they may want to take.
“From business to finance, to apparel and accessories, sports and entertainment; a lot of fields are covered in this,” DECA South Dakota State President Mia Jones said.
The competition has them competing against others in their respected field of choice.
“I am currently competing in human resources management as well as business law and ethics team decision making,” Roosevelt High School student Madelyn Walsh said.
“We picked community service because we wanted to see the – like, we want to help the community,” Harrisburg High School student Sherwin Distor said.
Based on what they choose, they’re given on the spot problems to solve.
The DECA students are given 10 minutes to come up with a solution to a hypothetical problem, which they then present to an industry professional, who judges their performance.
“Then you’re judged based on how well you solve the situation, how professional you are, and dress and attire,” Jones said.
The students get a certain number of rounds they have to complete. And things can get pretty intense.
“It’s a little nerve-wracking, the first interview of the day, but I believe I did ok,” Walsh said.
“I feel like the first round went actually really well and I’m excited for the next two. I feel like I’m – I feel more prepared cause, like, if you do good in the first one, I feel like it gives you more confidence,” Washington High School student Haroni Sahlu said.
But confidence isn’t the only thing they can look to gain from this…
“You can also get scholarships for being a part of DECA, but, mostly, it’s a lot of learning experience and that’s what you get most out of DECA. It’s not really about winning, it’s about learning.” Jones said,
Which will then help drive their passions.
“Right now, I’m looking at the UNL; the University of Nebraska Lincoln and going to attend the business college there,” Distor said
“My long-term goal is actually med school,” Walsh said.
“I’m really leaning toward neurosurgery. I really like neuroscience, so I kind of want to be a surgeon,” Lincoln High School student Teranysha Sutton said.
The students may be looking forward, but they’ll never forget what they’ve experienced.
“I find DECA a motivational club for me, and it helps me identify with who I want to be when I grow up,” Sutton said.
“DECA’s its own special group and it means a lot to me,” Walsh said.
If students do well, they’ll get a chance to compete at the national level.
If you’d like to learn more about the DECA program, click here.