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Millcreek Journal

Skyline’s DECA chapter dominates at development conference

Apr 09, 2024 01:03PM ● By Lizzie Walje

DECA is an organization that helps students in high school and college learn about crucial 21st-century skills and foster interest in various career tracks like business, management and hospitality. (DECA)

As of March 2024, Skyline High School’s DECA chapter members have lots of reasons to celebrate. Not only did 20 of their students rank in various event competitions at the recent Annual Association Career Development Conference held Feb. 22-23 in Layton, but now 25 of their members are looking forward to competing in DECA’s upcoming international competition which will be held in Anaheim, California, April 27-30. It’s a dramatic turnaround from the shaky Covid years, which challenged DECA chapters across the state, as the organization often relies on in-person events to grow and test its members.

DECA, a nonprofit career and technical student organization, is active in all 50 states in addition to various countries globally, including Canada, China, Germany and Spain. Per the organization’s mission statement, “DECA prepares emerging leaders and entrepreneurs for careers in marketing, finance, hospitality and management in high school and colleges around the globe.” 

DECA is organized into two unique student divisions, each with its own set of programs designed to address the learning styles, interest and focus of its members. 

DECA’s Utah division currently boasts just under 3,000 members who come from 65 different high schools across the state. DECA is Utah’s most rapidly expanding career and technical student organization, and for over 25 years, Utah DECA has been developing future leaders and entrepreneurs for careers in marketing, finance, hospitality and management. Students participate in prepared interactive presentations, written tests, and improvised role play situations to show their creativity, business knowledge and presentation skills.

The recent Annual Association Career Development Conference hosted over 1,400 students hailing from various Utah DECA chapters statewide. Students competed in over 50 competitive events, where Skyline High School members placed 20 students in the top three of their respective events, with many taking first place. Under the leadership of students Joyce Wang (president) and Anhknoa Le and Kyle Linnhan (vice presidents) Skyline was named Chapter of the Year in Utah.

Skyline DECA member Monika Cinbis was voted President of DECA for the state of Utah. Her appointment will go into effect during the 2024-25 academic year. Additionally, Skyline’s Jenna Tran was voted Technology Vice President of Utah. 

“This year’s success was unprecedented, signaling the nation’s and this school’s emergence from the Covid years,” said Gray Garrett, Skyline DECA adviser.

In recent years, Skyline’s DECA chapter has experienced substantial growth, providing an outlet for students to explore potential careers in business, management and hospitality all while networking and competing with like-minded students from across the country. For many of its members DECA has helped to instill a sense of confidence and competency in a multitude of different subjects. In an interview last year, Le, now a junior at Skyline, had this to say about his experience in DECA.

“[DECA] teaches you how to have more confidence. It teaches you to keep moving and persevere. And it teaches you a lot of technical skills. It also allows you to meet a lot of different peers who have the same skills as you, and it’s a great networking opportunity,” Le said. 

As for what’s next, Skyline’s DECA members are eagerly preparing for DECA’s International Career Development Conference (ICDC). The ICDC serves as a culmination of the DECA year. The event will see more than 22,000 high school students, teacher-advisers, business professionals, and alumni gather for DECA related excitement. 

Conference highlights will include a series of competitive events where more than 10,000 DECA members will be able to demonstrate their career knowledge and skills by participating in DECA’s Competitive Events Program. The finalists are chartered associations hoping to be named an international champion. Students will also be able to flex their acquired skill sets practicing and attaining crucial 21st-century skills in areas like collaboration, communication, critical thinking and creativity. 

For many students DECA also serves as a steppingstone for college preparation as DECA not only operates in high schools but also has an entire branch dedicated to the collegiate sect. As a result, the program is inherently valuable for students in high school who are preparing for their post-secondary education. The conference will also feature over 100 exhibits showcasing demonstrations and providing information for students seeking to expand their knowledge regarding a multitude of different potential career paths. 

As Skyline’s DECA club members prepare for the upcoming ICDC, they hope to continue building upon their impressive legacy. Twenty-five Skyline DECA members will be competing in a series of events, hoping to experience a similar level of success as they did at the Annual Association Career Development Conference. λ