by Amy Doeun
Julie Cooley of North Branch Area Public Schools remembers being part of DECA in high school.
Later, as she began her career as an educator, she brought DECA with her.
“I advised a DECA chapter at Robbinsdale Cooper High School for nine years and knew it was a program I wanted to bring to NBAHS when I got hired,” she said. “DECA is a program that provides students with the opportunity to take what they learn in the classroom and apply it to projects through DECA’s competitive events. I love that DECA is valuable to all students, not just those going into marketing. It teaches soft skills including critical thinking, communication and creativity.”
DECA (Distributive Education Clubs of America) is an international association of high school and college students and teachers of marketing, management and entrepreneurship in business, finance, hospitality, and marketing sales and service.
Cooley said this is the first time in about 15 to 20 years that North Branch has had a DECA chapter.
“DECA prepares the next generation to be academically prepared, community-oriented, professionally responsible, experienced leaders,” Cooley said.
This year six students participated in DECA, including in several competitive events.
“I am extremely proud of the six DECA students for their courage to dive in and learn all about DECA and work diligently to prepare for their competitive events,” Cooley said. “I am looking forward to seeing how the students place at the Minnesota State Career Development Conference in March and if any advance to the International Career Development Conference in Anaheim, California, in April.”
Abby Callahan found out about DECA from a business class. She plans on majoring in marketing next year in college (at St. Mary’s University) and thought DECA would give her a good head start.
“My favorite thing about DECA is all of the different people that are in it,” she said. “When we have down time at the conferences, it’s so fun to get to know people from other schools.”
Callahan described the projects she took to the district competition.
“I did a fashion merchandising promotion plan, which is an 11-page project where you have to write about everything from the schedule of events to the budget,” Callahan said. “My project was a partnership between Urban Outfitters and up-and-coming bands to create completely unique concert merchandise, titled ‘Urban Anthems.’ I was also in the apparel and accessories role play — you get 10 minutes to read the situation and develop a solution and then have to present it to a judge.”
She said that she hopes to have a career in the fashion or music industry and she wants to travel.
Cooper Sanvik said he found out about DECA in a couple of different ways.
“First off, my friend at a school nearby had competed in DECA, and he shared with me about what he was doing,” Sanvik said. “Also, I had been taking business classes, and the teacher reached out to me about this program.”
Sanvik cited a love for competition and enjoyment of previous business classes as contributing factors to his involvement in DECA.
“My favorite thing about DECA has to be competing with people that really care about the business world and are motivated to succeed,” he said. “At districts, I participated in one event. The event that I participated in at districts was restaurant and food service role play. What is done for that is I got a situation and got 10 minutes to prepare an answer. Then I presented my findings to a judge and was scored from that. At state, I will be presenting a 30-page entrepreneurship promotion plan project I did. The purpose of the project was to educate members of the public about entrepreneurship. Our chapter decided to hold an ‘Entrepreneurship Day’ at North Branch Middle School on Jan. 27 and brought in business owners from 16 companies to talk to all the seventh- and eighth-grade students during their social studies classes.”
The North Branch students will find out if they qualify for nationals March 21.