DECA students win big at international competition in Florida

Two seniors make the podium at high-stakes event

Elliot Armitage, Staff Reporter
Originally published May 18, 2019

Jasper Laur Seniors Mandy Risley and Michael Bryan with their 3rd place trophies at the International Career Development Conference

Jasper Laur

Seniors Mandy Risley and Michael Bryan with their 3rd place trophies at the International Career Development Conference

Two students from DECA recently placed third in an international competition held in Orlando, Florida.

The International Crew Development Conference, held on April 27-30, attracted over 22,000 people competing in various different categories related to business. Seniors Michael Bryan and Mandy Risley won third place in Financial Services Team Decision Making.

DECA, which stands for Distributive Education Clubs of America, has chapters all across the country and in Canada. Bryan and Risley’s third-place finish at ICDC is the first time the school has competed in finals, and the school’s first international win.

Senior Michael Bryan was surprised at the team’s success. “We didn’t think we would have gotten to finals, let alone getting third place,” Bryan said. “It was so much fun.”

Bryan didn’t know he would get so involved with DECA when he first started. “The first year, I wasn’t really into it, it was just a fun thing to do,” Bryan said. “The next year, I started at [a statewide competition] and somehow won it. I have no idea how.”

Mary Jereczek, the club’s advisor, said that Bryan and Risley’s win was because of their hard work in the programs. “[Bryan and Risley] have been in the marketing program, the academy of finance, been to internationals a couple of times, they’ve really been working towards it.”

DECA is an extension of the marketing classes, said Jereczek. “DECA is an organization that is for future leaders in business marketing, finance, entrepreneurship, hospitality, and tourism,” said Jereczek. “It’s been around since 1946, it’s got some staying power.”

Twelve students from the school went to the International Crew Development Conference this year. The group traveled with students from Roosevelt and Ingraham and met students from around the world.

Bryan said the club and competition has a laid-back atmosphere. “We weren’t really competing with each other. Everyone’s just chill and it’s fun.”

DECA isn’t just a fun club, though–for many students, it trains them for the real world, and, in some cases, has already helped them. Bryan said he has already used the skills that he has learned. “For college, I needed to take out a loan. There was this one thing I was going after, and I went in, and I said ‘this is what I need, and this is why you should give it to me,’” Bryan said.

“You need to show that you know what you’re doing- even though I don’t. You have to fake it ‘til you make it, and that’s the name of the game in DECA,” Bryan said.