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Becoming a State Officer

Katie Maliszewski, Staff Writer

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DECA is an organization that prepares young leaders and entrepreneurs for a future in marketing, hospitality, finance, or management fields. According to the DECA website, DECA is one of the most popular high school organizations in the state of Wisconsin, consisting of approximately 11,000 students. That number is only increasing. Out of these 11,000 members, there is a group of six students working around the clock to make sure DECA is running as smoothly as possible. These students are called the Wisconsin DECA State Officer team. This year, West Salem juniors, Julia Stoleson and Max Schumacher applied for a position on this team with hopes of making an impact on Wisconsin DECA. “I wanted to apply for State Officer because DECA has played a huge role in my life and I wanted to be a bigger part of it,” said Stoleson.

The process to apply for a State Officer position included many steps to ensure that Wisconsin DECA was picking the best possible leaders. “Applying for State Officer is like applying for college,” says business and marketing teacher and DECA advisor Jason Holter. “The whole process can be quite grueling.” To begin, Stoleson and Schumacher had to create a letter of intent for their application, update their social media accounts to be 100% school appropriate, obtain five references, and create a video stating why they should be chosen for a position on the Wisconsin State Officer Team. This information would be used to create a website all about their skills and interest in DECA.

After the websites were completed, they were analyzed by the former State Officers and the Leadership Team of Wisconsin DECA. Students who created a website that proved they were ready to campaign further for State Office moved on to the screening process in DeForest, Wisconsin. At the screening, Stoleson and Schumacher had to participate in multiple activities and interviews to determine if they were qualified to lead Wisconsin DECA.

From the screening, 11 students were chosen to move on to the state competition in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. Here, the students gave two different speeches, including one in front of a group of students chosen by advisors from all across Wisconsin and another in front of DECA alumni and business professionals. These two groups voted on who they thought should be in the new State Officer team. “The hardest thing about applying is definitely the interviews at screening followed by the speeches at State,” says Schumacher. “The whole process can be a bit stressful but worth it in the end.”

The results of who would be leading the Wisconsin DECA chapter were revealed on the last day of the state competition. Stoleson and Schumacher were announced as the new members of the State Officer team along with four other students. Stoleson will be working as the Vice President of Brand Management which includes running the Wisconsin DECA social media accounts and promoting DECA. “One of my main goals as this position is to effectively engage online with DECA chapters and members from across the state,” Stoleson says. Schumacher will be working as the Vice President of Membership Development and will strive to increase the amount of DECA members in Wisconsin. “My goal is to interact with as many members as possible, along with traveling to other chapters to utilize my knowledge and create the best environment possible for all DECA members,” said Schumacher.

Stoleson and Schumacher’s next step is traveling to Orlando, Florida to run meetings and work on leadership with different chapters across Wisconsin. Their responsibilities as State DECA Officers have just begun, as they have many other upcoming events to take part in. These events include a State Officer Workshop, conferences across the state, and video calls. “My advice to both of them would be do everything they can,” Holter says. “This moment will go by very quickly, and the only things they will regret are the things they did not do.”

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