DECA... where do I even begin to talk about this club that has brought so much joy, creativity, and confidence in myself. DECA is a business club that teaches students to be professional and prepares them for the business world through role playing and written projects.
Let’s rewind back to ninth grade... I was a shy, and awkward person who was afraid to raise her hand in class. I joined DECA because I kept hearing about how much fun it was. I didn’t really know what I was doing, so I stayed after school a lot and asked the advisors for help. I’m pretty sure they were sick of me by the second week of DECA. I made it to state my first year and I thought it was beyond cool how thousands of kids came together to compete in events that they were passionate in. I remember distinctly having so much pride whenever Westonka DECA was called on stage. After my first year, I was hooked.
Moving on to tenth grade... I was gaining more confidence in my speaking abilities and decided to take a risk. Because what is life without a risk? I ran to be an officer for DECA and was elected. After my speech, my brother and his friends stood on chairs and gave me standing ovations. I felt on top of the world. Being an officer was an amazing experience for me. I got to work behind the scenes and help fellow students with their projects as well as offer my own insight on creative aspects. That year, I worked on my first chapter project. In DECA, a chapter project is a yearlong endeavor that involves the entire chapter in promoting an idea or event. I did a creative marketing project on Westonka Tech Interns (WTI). With partners Taran Besant and Sheridan Nygard, we earn third place at state! I have had successes in the past, but this one mattered the most in my life so far because it showed me how far my hard work and dedication could get me.
In my junior year of DECA I felt so confident going into that year. My partners and I decided to do a project on The Truth, which aimed to end smoking in teens. This project hit close to home for me because my dad used to smoke. At state I was very shocked when a project that that I put so much time and energy in didn’t make it. It just reminded me that sometimes really great projects don’t make it. However, I still worked really hard on a Fashion Merchandising Promotional Plan on a company called Great Lakes Clothing Co.. I fell in love with the brand and its values. I was able to make it to internationals for the second time
Senior year definitely stands above the rest in terms of my memorable experiences. I was selected the president of the chapter. I greatly enjoyed helping younger students with their projects, because they reminded me of myself. This year, I did a project on Because I Said I Would, which aims to make sure that people keep their promises. Sheridan Nygard, Zach Riffle, and I worked all year to explain Alex Sheen (the founder’s) vision of the movement. Since we consistently reached out to him on social media, we were able to actually bring him to our school which was a dream come true. This project will always hold a special place in my heart because we spent so much time creating opportunities for students and staff to become involved. But having Alex actually come to explain his movement impacted the school in a such positive way and will be a day that I will never forget.
I can’t thank all of the advisor and fellow community members enough for the support I have received throughout the years. Joining DECA was the best decision of my high school career. It gave me a place to call home. Thank you for letting me be your president, it has been an honor of a lifetime.