By Rick Lytle, Online Editor-in-Chief
Prospect’s DECA chapter was well represented at the International Career Development Conference in Orlando, Florida. Four Prospect students competed from April 27-30 at the event.
Students had to first finish top four in regionals, and then place top four in the state to qualify for the international competition. The competitors were: senior Grace Ryan in Retail Merchandising, sophomore Madison Baysingar in Marketing Communications, and a team of seniors Megan McNally and Rebecca Santillan in the Integrated Marketing Campaign event. Senior Serena Zhang was a part of their group as well, but didn’t attend the international competition.
The Integrated Marketing Campaign group were allowed to create a marketing campaign for a variety of events. They decided to choose one familiar with many Prospect students, creating marketing materials for the popular Arlington Heights festival Frontier Days.
In addition to group projects, students could compete in roleplay events that are aimed to mirror real events in the business world, which is where Baysinger and Ryan excel. Advisor Andrea Izenstark believes Ryan finished the highest a Prospect student ever has at the competition. Ryan medalled in her event, adding to her state championship she already won on her way to qualifying for internationals.
Qualifying for and competing at the event was no small task. All members of the 3,500 high school chapters of DECA around the world compete to earn a spot at the international competition. The Prospect contestants competed against students from around the world, including students from Latin America, Europe, and Asia.
DECA aims to prepare emerging leaders and entrepreneurs for a variety of business-related careers. The key skill that Izenstark sees the students learn is communication. This skill is exemplified by the nature of the competition because the competitors have to present their ideas to a live judge. They need strong communication skills to get their point across and display their ideas.
Izenstark wants to continue to grow Prospect’s DECA program, and has a goal to double the number of Prospect students at the international conference next year. She believes DECA is an important way for students to get first hand experience in business related fields.
“[Deca is] a great way to put classroom materials into realistic career situations,” Izenstark said.