DECA – The Future of Business


Claire Hyrkas

Click here to read all about the DECA dogs experience.

Education around is always changing and new ideas are being sprouted because of the constant evolution of humans. Every new generation brings new ideas to be discovered. Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA) takes the opportunity to house these young minds and to help them become better leaders and members of society.

DECA prides itself on being a non-profit organization that focuses on preparing future leaders and entrepreneurs so that they can be ready for college and a career.

“DECA helps to prepare you for your future, and can be a great resource for building new business and leadership skills,” Orono High School alumna Amanda Johnson said.

DECA takes part in hosting conferences and competitions for students to participate in with their own projects.

The competition includes a written portion over business and marketing information along with roleplaying and problem solving events. The students are then judged on how well they can display their communication, creativity and problem solving.

Students that attend OHS are given the opportunity to create a project that they are passionate about so they can have the motivation to create effectively.

“We were having a tough time deciding what our topic was going to be this year. We also knew we wanted to start Clothing Collective as a passion project however. [Keith] Jurek helped us find a category that allowed us to marry our excitement for sustainable fashion with our drive for DECA!” senior and DECA state champion Lilly Reiner said.

In order to understand DECA, OHS senior and DECA state finalist, Sydney Heckmann, explained it in layers saying that there are multiple projects or roleplays that are offered. Regarding the roleplays, students take an exam on a specific topic that goes along with its specific roleplay. There are many different roleplay options including Sales Demos, Interviews, Marketing, Financials, etc.

Heckmann continued her explanation saying, There are 2 types of projects, Entrepreneurial and Chapter Projects. An entrepreneurship project consists of business plans that are made up or innovative businesses that already exist. Chapter Projects consist of management skills for students to use in the real world and help their community thrive in life. For example, community awareness, services, giving, business solutions, financial literacy, career development, sales project.

“[A]s a senior I not only made it through districts, but I am also a State Finalist. DECA is not easy, you have to put a lot of work into the project and present with passion to WOW the judges. We started the project around Oct./ Nov. and finished the first draft for districts in Jan. If you move on then you do a whole new rewrite of the project to make it better in order to advance in the State Conference,” Heckmann said.

DECA provides travel and networking opportunities to students who advance in State and International conferences. This past weekend, students spent three days at the Minneapolis Hyatt Regency. Those who pass the State level travel to Atlanta, GA, to compete in a five-day conference against thousands of others across the country.

“Competition wise you can never know how many will advance, but 26 [students] will go [to internationals]” DECA advisor Jurek said.

Throughout the students’ process to get to state, they had help from two advisors: Keith Jurek and Sarah Noznesky. Jurek and Noznesky guided the students with their expertise regarding business and all things DECA-related, so that their students could move onto internationals. Jurek and Noznesky have guided many internationally ranked teams over their years of being advisors.