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A staple club returns for another year

DECA has many newcomers and returners participating in activities and competitions
CTE teacher Mary Jereczek instructing during a DECA meeting. (Tansy Velush)


Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA) has recently started up again in school. Founded in 1946 and with over 206 chapters and 225 thousand high school members, the club is seeing an influx of people this year.
DECA’s goal, as said on the website, “is to prepare emerging leaders and entrepreneurs in marketing, finance, hospitality, and management.”
The company was made to help educators and youth who want to learn more about marketing, business and the financial world.
The club has a wide range of opportunities, competitions and chapters and is encouraging both high school and college level students to be prepared and confident when dealing with real world skills. While some students may want to go through competitions and others want to engage with other business-minded people their age, DECA has created a positive environment for all students according to the club members.
When talking to Madelyn Skinner, an officer for DECA, she emphasized how encouraging the community is.
“Another good part about DECA is that everyone is supportive, no matter how much experience you have,” Skinner said.
Having a motivating community is important, especially with a club that now has over twenty new members. All students have individual goals they are able to work on in the club, whether it be working towards competitions or gaining more knowledge about marketing.
Skinner said having the new members is good for getting a leg up in competitions which will begin in January and end with Internationals around early April.
According to Skinner, the officers and more experienced members are working towards a required number of community service hours. Around Thanksgiving they will be participating in a pet food drive for the Washington State University vs. University of Washington game, bringing different pet foods for the two teams.
Usually during the club itself for the majority of the members it is mainly information gathering and working on general projects. For the newer members the focus has been on a start-up business proposal and presentation that will be completed in early January. “DECA is a special club that I love to be in,” junior Jackson Matera said. “It’s something that I feel is different from anything else in school, and it has highly improved my experience here at Ballard because it’s something really special.”
Organized by marketing and entrepreneurship teacher Mary Jereczek, DECA meets most Thursdays at lunch in Ms. Jereczek’s classroom.
“The meetings are always fun,” Matera said. “I got lots of friends that do it, and we get to think and work together and that’s always a good time.”
Creating a product and being able to promote it are skills that require knowledge and experience. Ballard offers many semester-long courses that teach these skills, such as marketing, sports marketing and entrepreneurship, which are all taught by Ms. Jereczek.
Although performing well in the competitions is the goal, for many the fun of the DECA experience goes beyond the competitions.
The weekly meetings are a critical part to the club, and they often provide great times for inspiration and new ideas for the upcoming competitions, as well as being a place for like-minded students to get together and share ideas with one another.
“We plan for competitions and we learn about how these things work,” Court said.
“I love going in at lunch and seeing all my guys in there,” Matera said. “We all got good ideas, and when we get into our groups and work together to make our best work, you feel like you’ve accomplished something good.”
Additionally, the time spent in DECA is exceptionally valuable for later in life. Joining the club can help in other future desires beyond employment.
“I’ve heard it’s really helpful in the college admission process, so there’s another plus to doing it,” Court said.
As they prepare to start up for the new year, DECA is a club that should capture the interest of many students who wish to participate in school-sponsored activities.


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