My Time with DECA.

My Time with DECA.

There will always be a business world no matter how far the human race develops and expands. The business world is the very thing that keeps the world moving. With something that important it would be a good thing to make sure students across the globe have knowledge about running a business and what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur.

That’s where DECA comes into play.

“DECA prepares emerging leaders and entrepreneurs in marketing, finance, hospitality and management in high schools and colleges around the globe.”
DECA’s Mission Statement

DECA was offered to all students in marketing at Theodore Roosevelt High School. I was a part of marketing all of high school, but I never actually wanted to DECA. It was my junior year and my plate was pretty full at the time. My marketing teacher, Elissa Cumiskey, had saw the potential and entrepreneur in me. With enough persistence of asking me to go to the District Conference, Mrs. Cumiskey and my fellow classmates had convinced me to go.

The Herff Jones DECA Challenge.

The District Conference was still a couple months away. In the meantime, my good friend Benjamin Czarnota had brought the Herff Jones DECA Challenge to me, and my other good friend, Sebastian Davis’s attention. In this challenge we had to create a promotional plan for the school’s yearbook. We spoke to the school’s yearbook advisor, Janet Haddad, and she agreed to let us create the promotional plan. The yearbook staff along with Mrs. Haddad were very helpful during this time and provided us with any information we needed. We spent a lot of time researching buying habits, and finding out who is actually buying the yearbook. For example, we found out that it is actually the parents who are buying the yearbooks and not the students, so that is who we should be advertising to. After we had done everything we could we created a video showcasing our findings, and promotional plan.

Herff Jones DECA Challenge Video

We were very happy with the way that we had done things, and how our video turned out. Unfortunately, when the top 3 winners were announced we were not on that list. It was still a great learning experience.

My First DECA Conference.

Then the District Conference rolled around. I partnered with Sebastian and we did a Buying and Merchandising Team Decision Making event. The way it works is you sit down at a table and are given a piece of paper that you have never seen before. On this piece of paper is a scenario and roles that you and your partner are to play. The scenario is usually a problem in a company and you and your partner work for that company. You have 30 minutes to create a solution for the company and 15 minutes to present that solution to a judge. The judge is usually the big boss of the company. You are judged based off of your professionalism, whether or not you followed the guidelines, creativity, and practicability.

Me at the Regional Conference

We nervously presented our idea and didn’t know what to expect afterwards. At the award ceremony we were pleased to find out that we had made it to the State Conference.

The red, white, and blue ribbon represents advancement to the State Conference. The gold ribbon represents having one of the highest judge’s scores.

Going to the State Conference was like nothing I have ever experienced before. You get to stay in the Detroit Marriott Hotel in the Renaissance Center with some of your closest friend’s. In your downtime you get to explore the city (with limitations) and have fun. You don’t have too much time though because there’s all kinds of activities going on. You build memories with your friend’s that you will never forget.

Unfortunately, this was the end of the road for Sebastian and I for we did not advance to the International Conference. This was okay because very rarely does anyone make it to Internationals for a role play.

My Second, and Final Year.

It was my second and final year of DECA. It was sad thing for me because I loved DECA at this point. I wanted to leave my mark with Wyandotte DECA and that’s exactly what I did.

Sebastian, Benjamin, and I were given the School Based Enterprise project. In this project we had to write a 25 page paper, and create a presentation about our school store, The Trading Post. SBE is a special project because if you submit your paper and meet all the requirements, you advance straight to the International DECA Conference.

We spent a lot of time collecting information, writing our paper, and perfecting it. Once we submitted our paper we nervously waited for weeks until we got the email saying we were going to Orlando, Florida for the DECA International Career Development Conference. Even though we were going to ICDC, Sebastian and I did another role play at the District Conference. We did not make it states for our role play, but we got another medal for having one of the highest judge’s scores.

Me and Sebastian at the District Conference

We still ended up going to the State Conference for our SBE project. We presented our project to a judge and waited for the award ceremony. Turns out we placed as top finalists meaning we would have made it to ICDC even if our paper didn’t send us directly to there.

The DECA International Career Development Conference.

I woke up at 7 in the morning, picked up my suitcase, and headed towards the airport. We made our way from DTW to MCO. As I walked out of the airport I was hit with a big wave of heat. That is when it finally hit me that I was in Florida for ICDC.

We had a couple of days to chill out before we had to present our project. I could write a couple pages worth of all the fun things we did, but instead let me sum it up. We went to Disney World, Disney Resorts, Universal Studios, and Rainforest Cafe. Not only did we go visit these places, but I had the best time of my life and I mean that. I built so many memories that are irreplaceable. I went to Florida where I had never been before and surprisingly did not get sunburned. But, among-st all the fun, we were there for a reason.

The time finally came for us to present. We grabbed our boards, got on the bus, and headed to the convention center, and got there with about 3 minutes to spare. We were filled with anxiety because we knew that the next few minutes would determine where we placed in DECA. We presented like we did before and came out not knowing how we did.

Later on we were back at the convention center waiting for the SBE finalists to be called on stage. It felt like hours, but finally the time came and the announcer was listing off names. As he went on and on, we started to get scared. Then our names were called after everyone else. We were filled with excitement. We were the first people ever in Wyandotte history to make it as finalists at ICDC for the SBE project. Only 14 groups out of 196 make it as finalists and we were one of them.

We presented again for the second time, but instead of presenting in front of one judge, we presented in front of three. We went back to the convention center hoping our names would be called, but unfortunately they were not. That didn’t matter because we made history, and we gave it our all. Exactly 20 years ago my mom did DECA at RHS and made it to ICDC too.

My mother with her DECA group – 1999

Me with my DECA group – 2019

All in All.

I owe a lot of my success to my DECA advisor, Mrs. Cumiskey, who believed in me, trusted me, and always supported me through my endeavors. I also owe it to my partners, Ben, and Sebastian who were always there by my side and were the best partners I could ask for. I’d also like to thank everyone else in DECA for supporting me and my partners through this journey. I wish I had more time with DECA, but all good things must come to an end.

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