DECA students prepare for international competition

George Marshall, James Madison sending teams to Orlando, Fla.

After winning big at a state-wide event,  marketing students at George Marshall and James Madison High Schools are preparing to face international competition.

The teams will compete at the DECA International Career Development Conference to be held April 30 to May 4 in Orlando, Fla.

DECA is a national non-profit organization that fosters student interest in marketing, management and entrepreneurship.

Earlier this month, 65 members of George Marshall’s DECA chapter and 43 students from James Madison’s DECA group competed against more than 2,500 students from around Virginia at the DECA State Leadership Conference.

Students participated in three types of competition: individual role play where they review a marketing situation and prepare a presentation; team-decision making where teams review a case study and prepare for role play; and a written event where teams complete a 30-page paper on a marketing/entrepreneurship project and make a presentation.    

Twenty-nine students from George Marshall and 18 students from James Madison qualified at this event to compete at the international conference. Several groups earned first place awards.  

“We couldn’t be more proud of our students and how they conducted themselves through the whole process,” said Jen Hendrickson, advisor of George Marshall’s DECA chapter.

Hendrickson noted the significant amount of time that students put into preparing for these events. It’s great to see the hard work pay off, she said.

“It is one of the best feelings to stand back as an advisor and watch them on stage, jump for joy and scream for delight after they win,” Hendrickson said.

 Jennifer Gardner, advisor of James Madison’s DECA chapter, said she was “absolutely proud” of her students’ performance at the state competition.

She said the events help students gain valuable skills, such as poise and confidence in giving presentations. “This practice will pay off a lot for students in the future,” she said.

Over the next weeks, the students will hone their skills, revise papers and practice role playing in anticipation of the next level of competition. At the same time, chapters at both schools will be looking to the community to help fund the trip, which could cost as much as $1,000 per student. Both schools are in the process of planning fund raisers to assist with this expense.

Even with the high price tag, Hendrickson said the chance to attend the international conference is priceless for these students.

“This really takes what we look at in the classroom and puts it on a whole other level,” she said. “These activities give our students a great leg up.”


Winners from George Marshall High School

Business Law and Ethics First place overall: Faby Chaillo and Sarah Quattrocki

Marketing Communications First place overall: Cazzie MacDonnell and Sarah Meoni

Internet Marketing Business Place First place: Alyssa Bainbridge and Carrie Zettler

Advertising Campaign First place: Jenny Felter, Christine Greve and Ritika Jain

Entrepreneurship Promotion Plan First place: Yafet Kubrom, Katie MacDowell and Jesse Peterson

Marketing Management Fourth place: Emily Sexton

Principles of Hospitality and Tourism Third place: Becca Toser

Principles of Marketing Ninth place: Dan Dallen

Community Service Project Third place: Yazan Alshawkani, Brendan Fogarty and Kate Pantano

Entrepreneurship Fifth place: Haley Butterfield and Jeta Krasniqi

Internet Marketing Plan Second place: Amreen Dhindsa and Diana Man

Financial Services Second place: Brittany Miller and Chandani Rana

Hospitality and Tourism Third place: Kate Balek and David Dziedzic

Sports and Entertainment Third place: Jocelyn Golden, Kimberly Gollogly and Maggie MacDonnell


Winners from James Madison High School

Quiz Bowl Team Second place: Trent Triola, Mitchell Kelleher and Derek Kennedy

Finance Operations Research First place: Kevin Zell, Hank Lewis, Dan Schwab

Professional Selling First place: Brendan Karp

Hospitality Operations Research Second place: Noelle Hakim, Lauren Welch

Fashion Merchandising Promotion Plan Third place: Meg Houston, Samantha Kohlhaas, Tess Layer

Fashion Merchandising Promotion Plan Fourth place:  Kelly Tyroler, Adrienne Euler

Creative Marketing Research Second place: Chanel Urrutia, Morgan Cooper Okercheri

Sports and Entertainment Team Second place: Sloan Tison, Retsy Holliday

Business Law and Ethics Team Third place: Mason Gardner, Ransom Holliday

Quick Service Restaurant Marketing: Sahar Neisi

Honorable Mention: Kyle Mancini, Marketing Management; Ally Grasso, Entrepreneurship Participating; Meghan Flounlacker, Becca Kern and Alexa McMahon, Learn and Earn Project


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