“I’m very proud. I was confident they were going to do well. They had been working on their presentation and I had them in class, so I was pretty certain," Judy Emory, Milford High School DECA advisor
Judy Emory believed if Milford High School’s DECA chapter came prepared and confident, they would excel.
DECA, formerly Distributive Education Clubs of America, prepares emerging high school and college leaders and entrepreneurs for careers in marketing, finance, hospitality and management. The Feb. 2 State Career Development Conference and Competition at Dover Downs tested their ability to improvise marketing plans and problem-solve in a business environment.
Emory, Milford’s DECA advisor, turned out to be right, though 12 of her 13 entrants had never been in this type of competition at the state level. The team members brought home four first-place performances, two second-place efforts and a third.
“I’m very proud,” said Emory. “I was confident they were going to do well. They had been working on their presentation and I had them in class, so I was pretty certain.
“It’s nerve-wracking for them if they’ve not done it before, but the more seasoned students who have done it previously are usually OK. Of those who went, only one had done it previously, so the others were a little uncertain. But once they got there they knew what they were doing.”
And they were right on target at on-the-spot problem solving.
Kyle Maloney (accounting), Lexi Daino (financial consulting), Hunter Frey (professional selling) and Kyle Strassle (hospitality professional selling) all sparkled with first-place performances for Milford.
Brea Wells (hospitality and professional selling) and Tyler Timson (sports and education marketing) both finished second and Ali Akram (finance) came in third.
All seven top-three finishers advance to the International Career Development Conference in Nashville, April 23-26.
Maloney hopes the state competition has him prepared to take on the best in the nation.
“We had a great time. It was a good experience,” Maloney said. “I was in the accounting part of it. They gave me a scenario and I had time to prepare. It was all about company accounting, stocks and stuff like that. I had to do a presentation in front of judges, and to be honest, I thought I did terrible. So it was a great surprise to win. It was a humbling experience.”
Timson with a second in sports and entertainment marketing at states, was also elected state DECA secretary.
“It was definitely a pretty big deal,” said Timson. “We had to basically market to a mass area, and I had to market archery to an urban area. It was definitely hard to accomplish, but I think I did pretty decent on it.”
Timson recommends DECA to his fellow students. He said it gives them a head start into the business world.
“It’s fun,” he added. “You get to meet new people and create new friends and learn more about business and marketing and create some new connections.”
Derrick Bogan and Caleb Chandler (business law/ethics team), Michael Holstein and Holly Tersoro (sports and entertainment marketing team) and Flora Ellehoej and Madison Hazzard (buying and merchandising team) also competed. Andrew Sollie was sick and unable to attend.
Emory said participating in DECA helps many students with college.
“It looks good on their college applications and it looks good on scholarship applications,” said Emory. “Even in the business world, many businesses, once they see that a student has been associated with DECA, then they know that they have some business background and marketing background and they’re used to working as a team member.”
Emory is hoping to raise awareness for her group’s need for sponsors to help with travel to Nashville for the national competition.
“We could really use some sponsorship and I think it would be really wise for the community to get behind more of the academic-oriented students,” Emory said. “I know that they get behind our sports’ students from time to time and I just know that this is important as well.”
They’ve got the trophies to prove it.