CONTACT:  Michele Clark
Communications Coordinator

Vol.  45, No. 19                    

March 10, 2011


Preparing Students to Be College and Career Ready

DECA Event Features Top Marketing Students

More than 1,650 high school marketing students and their teachers will gather this weekend for the 63rd annual Missouri DECA State Career Development Conference (March 13-15) at the Lodge of Four Seasons, at the Lake of the Ozarks.  The conference is sponsored by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

DECA is an international association of high school students studying marketing, finance, hospitality and management. Missouri DECA ranks sixth in the nation in membership with more than 9,100 members.  There are 178 DECA chapters across the state.

“High school students taking courses in marketing, business and entrepreneurship apply what they have learned at the DECA conference,” said Gayla Westergaard, state advisor for DECA.  “This competition provides a great opportunity for students to gain realistic, career-oriented experiences that will help them perform and excel in higher education and their future careers.”

During the statewide conference, DECA members will be evaluated by more than 100 business and industry professionals who serve as competitive-event judges. Students participating in the competitions solve realistic workplace problems through one-on-one interaction with an executive or community member.

Students may participate in individual or team events, business operations research projects, leadership academies, and entrepreneurship projects.  Event criteria are aligned with national curriculum standards.

In addition to its competitive events, DECA activities center around leadership training, dynamic conferences, community service and business partnerships,” Westergaard said.

Winners at the state conference will advance to the international DECA competition that will be held April 29-May 4 in Orlando, Florida.

The opening session begins at 8 p.m. Sunday. The keynote address will be delivered by Eddie Slowikowski, a motivational speaker from Chicago. Central Region Vice President Paige Dorman of Minnesota will be on hand to greet students and their teachers.