“Oh, that’s just one of those after-school groups.”
Not so fast, the Distributive Education Clubs of America, also known as DECA, have prepared emerging high school/college leaders and entrepreneurs for careers in marketing, finance, hospitality and management all around the world for just under 70 years. In all 50 states there are more than 215 thousand members, including our very own Loy Norrix High School which is run under business management teacher Atiba Ward. DECA originated in Reston, Virginia and has spread to many other countries, including Canada, China, Germany, Guam, Mexico, Puerto Rico and Spain.
Loy Norrix’s DECA club is highly recommended to anyone who is interested in any type of business. DECA is good for more than just learning about business, just like any sport you learn a lot of life lessons. While competing with other schools you often meet lots of people who are interested in the same thing as you, but there aren’t many people who join the club.
“Students are reluctant because they don’t know what it [DECA] is and it doesn’t sound cool,” says Ward.
With hopes of students seeing the relevance of the club, Ward would love to see more people join and take it seriously.
DECA isn’t just any old after school program, the DECA program has many ties with a large number of colleges. DECA also provides over $300 thousand in scholarships to high school and college members and scholarship money is often given to members from multiple companies. Don DeBolt, Journeys, Marriott and many other companies have donated over $1,000 each year.
This year’s DECA club is primarily seniors; therefore, there will be more than enough room for new people next year. Loy Norrix DECA is a very diverse group of guys and girls, from all grades 9th to 12th. Joining DECA can introduce you to people you didn’t even know went to your school.
Being in DECA isn’t all competitions and business. Every year the group has fun meeting new people while on a trip to the mall in Detroit. After the mall, members are taken to a Piston’s game, where they can meet DECA members from other schools. While at the game Ward is often trying to get students to introduce themselves to new people as practice for competitions that come up later in the season.
“Mr. Ward pushed us me to meet new people while at the [Pistons] game,” said senior Artevion Woodson.
If you plan on joining and going on the trip, it is more than likely you leave knowing more people than you did when you left.
Just like a sport, DECA teaches you many things that aren’t always taught purposely. Confidence is one that is practically handed to you, as students get used to meeting and talking to new people.
“Meeting new people isn’t really my thing,” stated senior Aamore Tatum. “But after seeing my friends doing it, I just did it too.”
Introducing yourself becomes a lot easier because you rarely get nervous after doing it for a while. Talking and holding a conversation becomes a lot easier too, and you start to wonder why you were even nervous about it before.
At this year’s most recent competition Norrix did a great job, with four students winning a total of 10 medals.
“We stole all the medals,” said Ward. “Yup, we ran away with them all.”
Five students came back with medals the day of the Winterfest pep rally, three earned more than one medal. The competition took place at KVCC, with 9 different schools in attendance. The DECA members seemed to really like the experience and some think more people should join.
“I wish more of my friends would join,” said first year DECA member Ajana Johnson.
Another first year member Madisyn Caldwell says she plans to participate in DECA again next year and anyone a who plans on getting a job at some point should give DECA a try.
Caldwell also said, “It helps you later in life with job interviews.”
This is very true because a lot of the competitions are mock job interviews, where you dress up and answer questions about the prompt they give you.
DECA looks great on a resume for any business-oriented job, it’s also a great resource for any questions you have about business. Seeing new things and meeting new people is a one of the most helpful learning experience of being in DECA. There’s many other ways DECA can change your life for the better, but you’ll never get to experience them if you don’t join.