What is DECA?

What is DECA?

Emily Fell, Staff Writer

Everyone seems to be asking the question, “What is DECA?” DECA mostly prepares high school students in marketing, finance, hospitality, management, and tourism. Supervisors involved to make this all happen are business education teacher Jason Holter, social studies teacher Brittney Hodgson, and business education teacher Nicole Hinkel. DECA is all about “What you know, not who you know,” says Hinkel. 

Participants in DECA can complete community service projects such as the haunted tunnel, highway clean up, and Muscular Dystrophy Association fundraiser. DECA practices take place after school. Members who go to state perform a scenario in a specific category, like tourism, with a mentor. DECA members also take a 100 question test at state. DECA members who take the test don’t have to take a final exam in their business class. 

There are approximately 11,000 members in DECA in the state of Wisconsin, and 75-85 of them come from West Salem High School. Junior Morgan Quackenbush has been to districts, state, and the international conference. Quackenbush was very interested in learning more about business. “I loved going to state, meeting new people, and spending the night in a hotel,” says Quackenbush.

One West Salem High School student, Kate Fitzgerald, has been involved in DECA since freshman year and has since become a state president for DECA. Being a state president comes with a lot of responsibilities and requires a lot of time. With these responsibilities, she has to manage the team of participants and plan the communication passion projects. Because of the demands of the position, Fitzgerald is grateful for the adult advisors in DECA.  “They are super flexible and understanding,” says Fitzgerald. 

DECA state officers just had the first in-person conference of the year over the summer since COVID-19. They have another meeting in November in Madison. November is also DECA month, which means participants celebrate all the accomplishments and show how they love DECA.  

DECA is a great way to get involved in school, make new friends, and try new things. Participants get to travel to other states and maybe even other countries. “DECA is an amazing opportunity to get involved and meet new people,” says Senior Max Yahnke. “It’s not something you need to spend multiple hours working on per week, so it is able to fit most people’s schedules. Also, there’s an option for everyone in the competition part of DECA. You’re able to use your strengths to ultimately succeed in whatever you’re competing in. It’s been a great experience and I’m beyond happy I decided to join 4 years ago.”