Friday, March 7, 2014

Day 110 - Positive Parent Perspective

Today's post is from parent and community member Mike Seats

I am the parent of two children who graduated from MWHS. Both participated in DECA, as did many of their friends. My daughter competed at the District, State and National levels, and my son competed at the District and State levels. I have also served as a DECA judge for three years at the District and State levels.  
The positive impact that DECA has had on my children's lives is simply remarkable. Both are pursuing college degrees in business administration and are excelling academically. Their decisions to study and pursue careers in business were influenced greatly by their experiences in the MWHS Chapter of DECA.

The three individuals who direct the MWHS DECA chapter, Sue Simonson, Mark Lee and Stephanie Lolich, do an absolutely outstanding job. They each deserve a tremendous amount of credit for the positive influence they have each year on dozens of MWHS kids. Sue, Mark and Steph have different styles and backgrounds, but they complement each other beautifully and work well together. One thing they all have in common is tremendous dedication to DECA and to the MWHS kids who participate in DECA.

The MWHS kids seem to understand and appreciate Sue's, Mark's and Steph's passion and dedication, and they respond to it. Over the years, I have seen my children and many of their classmates spend countless hours working together on DECA projects at my house. I have seen how engaged and inspired these kids are. The projects on which they are working are challenging. They demand creativity and technical understanding. The group projects also require teamwork. I have seen MWHS DECA students working together as a team on projects in a way that would be the envy of any CEO.

As a judge I have seen scores of impressive DECA contestants from all around the State of Minnesota. I can say without reservation that the MWHS chapter shines at these competitions. The MWHS kids are, in my experience without exception, well prepared and well coached. The enormous success of the MWHS DECA kids at the District, State and National levels speaks for itself.

I am impressed every year by the competition results earned by the MWHS DECA students, but I am even more impressed by the level of maturity that the DECA experience brings out in the MWHS kids. I know many of these kids well from having coached them in sports and having seen them frequently in my house as they have grown up. It is simply astonishing to see the way these kids step up to the DECA experience. The higher level of maturity they exhibit in DECA related activities may only be temporary, but it is real. As a parent and someone who cares deeply about all of these kids, I can tell you it is comforting to see. It is almost as if you are getting a glimpse into their future.

I have often wondered why DECA does not rate the performance of DECA chapters, as well as the performance of individual students. If they did, there is no doubt in my mind that the MWHS chapter would year in and year out be rated among the very best in the state.

Perhaps the best objective evidence of the outstanding work that Sue, Mark and Stephanie do is the number of MWHS kids who participate in DECA every year. Each year MWHS has about 100 kids participating in DECA. For a school of its size, that is extremely impressive.

My advice to any parent of a child attending MWHS is to encourage him or her to participate in DECA. Regardless of his or her personality type or area of academic interest, s/he will benefit greatly from the experience. Don't just take my word for it. Ask any MWHS graduate who participated in DECA under the leadership of Sue, Mark and Steph. I think they will agree.

Foreign exchange student Damian Urwyler and Megan & Andy Seats

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