Competing in Anaheim

Daisy Popick, Editor in Chief

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DECA (Distributive Education Clubs of America) is a non-profit career and technical organization that prepares emerging leaders and entrepreneurs in marketing, finance, hospitality and management in high schools around the globe.

This year, the Royal High school DECA program appointed two students to go to the state DECA conference in Anaheim, California, where over 2,500 students from across the state attended.

The DECA program test’s students in many different types of “business owner” scenarios. They had a written test that the students used to consider the best options in different scenarios. As well as role plays in front of industry judges, where you were questioned about a specific, predetermined, encounter or experience in a theoretical work space. Students had situations to solve and present such as active shooter emergency plans for small businesses, and how to deal with inadequate management and employees.

The purpose of DECA is to prepare students for the outside world, and encourage them, if they have their own ideas, to express them and maybe even build a business. It also helps students build interview skills and get ready to have a future job, strengthening leadership skills.

The keynote speaker at the conference was Jess Ekstrom, the CEO of Headbands of Hope. She was inspired to create her business after an “internship” at the Make-a-Wish foundation. She wanted to make a difference in the lives of children battling cancer. For every item sold, a headband is donated to a child battling cancer. She shared her harsh journey through her many trials, and errors and encouraged everyone that “Failures are the reflection of growth and learning.”