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DECA students compete in recent regional event

By Jay Stewart
On March 8, 2017

Kirkwood Community College’s DECA chapter traveled to compete in a regional competition in Minnesota on Feb. 23. 

DECA is a business education and skills competition featuring 24 unique competitive events spanning across five main categories: Business Management and Administration, Entrepreneurship, Accounting and Finance, Hospitality and Tourism and Marketing and Communications. 

Kirkwood student Cody Benesh competed in both the Human Resource Management event and the Entrepreneurship event. It was his first year participating in DECA and he said he enjoyed competing. He added that his favorite part of the competition was getting to do fun group activities the evening after the competition. 

Students from Kirkwood participated in almost all of the 24 events. Eighty-four students competed and sixteen qualified for the national competition. Three Kirkwood students also received recognition for outstanding student leadership. 

Additionally, DECA students were also recognized for community service through a bowl-a-thon they held to raise money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. 

Lori Merlak, DECA advisor and business and IT instructor at Kirkwood said, “… [DECA] gives real world experience to business content that we’re teaching in the classroom.”

Merlak said her favorite part of the competition was watching students learn from the experience. “For me as a faculty member, watching students step out of their comfort zone, and have to put themselves in front of a judge and watching how they learn from that experience is very rewarding, she said. “They’re always nervous at first but after they go through it, they experience it, it helps them gain confidence in what they’re going to do in the real world in business.” 

The national competition for DECA will be held in Anaheim, Calif., in mid-April.

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