DECA is a worldwide organization in high schools and colleges designed to prepare emerging leaders and entrepreneurs for careers in business.  These careers include marketing, entrepreneurship, finance, management, law and other business-oriented careers.

Lebanon High School DECA is student-led and focuses primarily on preparing students for various competitions at district, state and international levels.  These competitions give DECA members business and leadership related, practical, real-world experiences with a goal to benefit the students for the future.

This year, 18 LHS DECA students competed at district competitions against over 400 other DECA members in their region.  14 of the 18 students placed in the top three spots of their categories, giving them the opportunity to compete at the Indiana DECA state competitions.

At state, seven of the 14 that competed placed in the top four of their categories, which allows them to advance to Internationals.  Two other DECA members that did not place in the top four placed fifth.  However, a group in their division dropped out, allowing them to being in the top four, which means they get the opportunity to join the other seven in competing at Internationals this year.

It takes a lot of hard work and dedication for these students to go this far and be able to have such a great opportunity and experience.  Internationals this year will take place in Orlando, Florida from April 27 to May 1.  The students that will be attending Internationals this year are Natalie Dafoe, Molly Garner, Kieran Guyman, Matthew Keith, Macey Kenna, Cindy Kirkman, Khushi Patel, Ella Taylor and Abby Thomas.

Senior at LHS, Cindy Kirkman has been in and competed for DECA the past four years of her high school careers.  She is competing in Marketing Communications this year and previously competed in Business Law and Ethics the past three years.

“Overall, you get a lot out of it, it is more than just learning about business.  You learn how to present a presentation, present yourself, present a case and speak confidently,” said Kirkman.

Kirkman placed fourth overall in Marketing Communications, was recognized for test score, and received second in role plays.  Role plays is one of the competitions where you have to do the case studies and other things involved with it.

“’I am excited about Internationals, even if that means I cannot go to prom. It will definitely be worth it in the end,” said Kirkman.

Junior Macey Kenna competes in the individual series, meaning she has to do a role play mostly dealing with customer behaviors and pricing factors.  She also has to create a presentation to present in front of judges. This year she received a medal for having a high-test score, 2ndin one of the role plays, 3rdin another role play and 2ndoverall.

“You have to put in work in order to get results and advance.  In this club, you will not advance far if you do not put in the work,” said Kenna.

Junior Molly Garner also had an amazing experience at state.  She got to meet over 100 kids that are just as much into business as she is and share the same interests.  Garner competed in the Business Growth Plan, where she competed against other high schoolers that also own their own business.  She had to write a five-year plan for her business, which took about three months to create.

“My favorite part about DECA is how it actually helps me with my future because I already know what I want to be when I am older and most of my high school classes do not help me with that but DECA does,” said Garner.

This is only Garner’s second year in DECA and she plans to return next year to finish out her high school career.  She received 3rdat state this year and is very excited to compete at Internationals this spring.

“The only reason I own my own business is because of DECA.  Last year sparked this fire in me that made me realize I loved business as much as I did,” said Garner.

Sophomores Khushi Patel and Natalie Dafoe were partners this year in the Hospitality Team Decision Making, where the members are given a role to solve a business problem in a hotel.

“I like the traveling that comes along with it as well as winning and having all of your friends around you and having fun,” said Patel.

Sophomore Matthew Keith was impacted greatly at state, considering this was his first year.  He competed in the Sports Entertainment category as an individual.

“I like DECA because it has great experiences and you are having fun as you are learning,” said Keith.

Every DECA person agrees to the club being very time consuming, but it being worth it in the end.  LHS DECA needs support for going to Internationals this year.  If you would like to assist DECA in their expenses for Internationals, you can contribute through their GoFundMe page.  Also, if this club interests you, do not be afraid to join DECA, it might just change your life.