DECA offers glimpse inside business world

Jayne Durnin/Staff Writer

DECA’s motto is Live Learn Lead, and that’s exactly what’s happening in the Cedar Falls DECA chapter.

DECA, or Distributive Education Clubs of America, is a business and marketing organization for students who are interested in marketing or business fields. Members of DECA write papers, take tests and present plans to judges at District and State competitions.

The Cedar Falls DECA group recently attended the Fall Conference in Des Moines.

“Students listened to a couple of keynote speakers on leadership and making your way in the future. They also had breakout sessions on different topics, like learning to compete and about advertising, finance and entrepreneurship,” Matt Flaherty, the DECA adviser, said.

“My favorite part was hanging out with a bunch of different people and the hypnotist was awesome,” junior Kaitlyn Gillett said.

“The conference was a lot of fun and we did a lot of team building activities. It was a really good experience,” sophomore Makayla Abbas said.

In addition to this conference, the group goes to a district competition in January at Hawkeye Community College. There is also a state competition in Des Moines at the end of February.

“If students place first or second at state they advance and compete at the National Competition in May. This year it is in Louisville, Kentucky,” Flaherty said.

In competitions, students can either write a paper or manual on a research topic or create their own business or advertising plan.
“If you write a paper, you get to present it in front of a judge. If you take a test, you also do a role-play, where you’re given a fake scenario and you have to find a business model or a set of ideas that you can apply to the situation, and then present it as best as possible,” said senior Alex Entz.
As well as competing, Cedar Falls DECA tries to organize a community service activity.

“Most DECA chapters give some portion of what they earn to a charity that the state DECA group decides to give to; this year, it’s the Heart Connection,” said Entz.

Belonging to DECA benefits students interested in business.

“I think that DECA has really helped me in a lot of ways,” said Entz, “In taking me to Atlanta and Anaheim, it has really taught me a ton. The experience is indescribable; I have experienced so many things there that I can’t here in Cedar Falls. I saw an NBA playoff game in Atlanta and a Dodgers game in Anaheim, and each time being around all of those other businesspeople really helps you to network and have a great time learning from the culture and the people around you. And obviously, it teaches me a lot about business and how such systems work.”

“DECA is such an awesome experience and I will definitely be in it through senior year. I’m meeting a lot of great people and it’s an awesome way to have a good time and learn a lot,” sophomore Lauren Bannon said.

There was a total of 48 students that participated in the recent conference, but DECA is still growing.

“I have had a number of students ask to still be in DECA and students can still come to meetings and join to be a part of the competitions and service projects and fundraising we will do,” said Flaherty.

DECA meets every other Thursday morning in room 275 at 7:30 AM.

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