Four seniors earn Anaheim trip to DECA national competition

Four seniors that are part of a group called DECA will take off to Anaheim, Calif., on April 26 to compete at the DECA Nationals. The seniors include Michelle Swartley, Justin Gray, Lucas DeWitt and Courtney Dobson.

The International Career Development Conference (ICDC) is an annual business competition and leadership conference for members of high school DECA who have qualified at their state competitions. DECA is a business club here at Cedar Falls High School where students get the opportunity to learn leadership and business roles that they will use in the real world.

“At Nationals we will be competing against kids from all over the country,” senior Lucas DeWitt said. In Anaheim, DeWitt will be competing against two others in a hotel and lodging Management contest. “I will have to take a 100-question test and then do two role plays. The role plays give you different situations, and you have 10 minutes to come up with a solution and then present it to a judge,” DeWitt said.

Gray is partnered with Dobson in a competition against other partners over business law and ethics. Swartley will be competing in personal finance.

Dobson said her favorite part of DECA is “Next year I will be attending Creighton University for a six year business law program. DECA has allowed me to explore the area of business law and ethics, as that is the category I compete in. I am grateful for the opportunity to learn more and enrich my knowledge in this area in order to confirm that I would like to continue with it through a career as a corporate lawyer.” Dobson said.,“DECA prepares students for careers in the real world and allows us to meet others with similar interests and aspirations. International competitions take place in Anaheim, Atlanta, Nashville and Orlando on a rotating basis, which provide a unique chance to travel that most extracurriculars do not.”

“It’s such a small chapter in the school that hardly anybody knows about; however, it connects us with huge DECA chapters worldwide.  Almost all businesses we talked to while fundraising were familiar with DECA, and many business owners said that they competed in it themselves,” Gray said.

Swartley agreed. “It helps me to become more comfortable in situations such as the role play and become confident when talking to complete strangers about my ideas,” she said.

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