DECA (Distributive Education Clubs of America) develops future business leaders. DECA is a national organization with nearly 75 years of experience in developing emerging leaders and entrepreneurs. Their mission statement clarifies their purpose: DECA prepares emerging leaders and entrepreneurs in marketing, finance, hospitality and management in high schools and colleges around the globe.
DECA was introduced to Timothy Christian High School in 2015 when Kendra Lee joined Timothy’s faculty in the business department. She had witnessed first-hand the value of DECA for high school students at her previous school and wanted to provide Timothy students with this important opportunity. She sees DECA as a means of helping students boost their self-esteem and helping them mature and develop their God-given gifts and talents. “DECA is a way to enhance the experience of students from our regular business curriculum. DECA is a valuable tool in helping students put classroom lessons into practical experience.”
An example of the practical aspects of DECA is that while participating in DECA Luke Voss developed a business plan for his landscaping business, which led to growth and greater productivity. This will prove beneficial in his future.
"Participating in DECA has built my confidence in all areas of my life. I have learned how to think on my feet and how to present ideas to people."
In some ways, DECA functions like Timothy’s athletic teams. It is not a part of the daily business curriculum. DECA students meet after school covering a variety of topics and preparing for competitions. The competitions consist of three components; written (in the form of a test), role play, and virtual. Participants practice for competitions utilizing all three components. “Coach” Lee suggests strategies, asks questions they may be asked by judges in competitions, and offers feedback.
Luke and David Sianghio have been a part of DECA for three years and have partnered in many competitions. Not unlike a tennis doubles team, they understand one another’s strengths and weaknesses. They know who is comfortable in which role and who should take the lead at any given moment. They have practiced many different role play scenarios and have learned to not be too anxious when competing.
There are over 20 subjects to choose from in a competition. Luke and David chose the area of Business Law and Ethics. In the role play, participants are given a scenario and have 30 minutes to prepare their presentation. They are given six or seven specific performance indicators that must be included when they are before judges. Judges listen to their presentations and ask questions. In the end, they are ranked. Luke and David placed fourth in the State competition which qualified them to participate in Nationals with 150 other teams. They did not place in the National competition, but the experience was invaluable.
Luke plans to major in business in college and is certain that his experience in DECA will benefit him. “Participating in DECA has built my confidence in all areas of my life. I have learned how to think on my feet and how to present ideas to people.”