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DECA students among finalists

By Hillary Omitogun
On May 3, 2016

Thirteen Kirkwood Community College students attended a Collegiate DECA (Distributive Educational Clubs of America) International competition in Washington D.C. April 15 - 20 and four were finalists in three areas. 

They competed with students from more than 1,300 colleges and universities across the country. 

DECA previously sent 69 students to represent Kirkwood in a competition in Minneapolis. There they competed with students from close to 25 other colleges. 

Students who placed in the top 90th percentile in the region were considered eligible for the advanced competition in Washington D.C. Of the 69 students from Kirkwood, 14 scored high enough to be eligible to compete at the next level and 13 attended the national competition.

DECA, a student organization that is a subdivision of Collegiate DECA, has been an organization at Kirkwood for 32 consecutive years and in the last two years its membership has more than doubled. 

According to Mark Abel, marketing instructor and DECA advisor, “In the fall semester, meetings are centered on student leadership, business career awareness, fundraising and community service while the spring semester schedule focuses more on the Collegiate DECA regional competition in business.”

The students competed in role plays, simulations and written exams. Some of the categories included Banking Financial Services, International Marketing and Professional Sales, Event Planning, Hotel & Lodging, Travel & Tourism and Restaurant & Food Service Management.  

 “These competitions provide a unique opportunity for students to achieve distinction in a particular subject area. Not only is it a great resume and career builder, it also improves students’ self-confidence and team building skills,” Abel explained. 

The 13 students who participated in the International competition are: Erica Groth, Curtis Stoll, Thomas Hall, Lexis Exline, Mitch Smith, Bety Lopez, Joel Bergen, Michael Uridil, Hannah Shafer, Derek Sedrel, Simon Mejia, Katherine Slota and Garrett Morling. 

Smith, Bergen, Uridil and Morling were recognized with medals as the four finalists. 

“The fact that our Kirkwood students not only competed but excelled at this level is truly a great accomplishment and testament,” said Todd Saville, business instructor and DECA advisor. Business and IT faculty member Lori Merlak also helped out with the competition. 

DECA’s website describes the organization as one that “prepares emerging leaders and entrepreneurs in fields such as marketing, management, finance and entrepreneurship in high schools and colleges around the globe.” 

DECA’s Collegiate Division includes more than 15,000 members in 200 colleges and universities nation wide.

The 14 DECA members who were eligible to compete at the national competition

DECA members and advisors


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