Greenville DECA students advance to international conference in California

By Kelli Ameling • Last Updated 9:43 pm on Friday, March 22, 2013

Seven DECA students advanced from the state competition to the DECA International Competition. Pictured from left are DECA Advisor Kelly Roney, senior Kaitlyn Balko, senior Mattie Hogan, senior Taylor DeWildt-Christensen, senior Lauryn Day, senior Britta Bernth, senior Emily Smith and sophomore Mikayla Davis. — Daily News/Kelli Ameling


GREENVILLE – In April, seven Greenville DECA students will be showcasing their talents and marketing skills at the International DECA Conference in Anaheim, Calif.

DECA is a student organization comprised of sophomores, juniors and seniors. It prepares its members for careers in marketing, management, finance and hospitality.

“It’s a lot of fun,” said sophomore Mikayla Davis, noting that not every school gets to participate in the unique program that builds skills students will use in the workplace for the rest of their lives.

Senior Britta Bernth said the competitions build networking opportunities as well.

“You get to meet so many different people,” Bernth said. “There is a lot of networking that takes place.”

DECA students first participated in districts and then move on to the state competition.

Greenville Public Schools DECA Advisor Kelly Roney said she took about 45 students to state. Of those 45 students, seven of them will advance to the international competition, which will be held April 23-28 in Anaheim, Calif.

According to, the state competition is the only opportunity in Michigan where future marketing leaders come together to prepare for their careers.

Each student competes in their chosen occupational career, and as the students advance, so does the depth of the competition.

The students compete in written events, role play and presentations. The top students from each region (eight regions in all) compete at the state level.

“DECA competitions (showcases) every aspect of business,” Roney said. “The competition is tough, but Greenville has seven students represented on the Michigan team.”

Senior Taylor DeWildt-Christensen said through DECA, students are able to take what they learn in the classroom and apply it to real life.  Senior Emily Smith agreed, saying DECA helps build business experience.

“Not all students are able to get jobs while in school, so participating in DECA helps give them experience,” Smith said.

This year, the DECA students achieved a little more than just advancing to the international competition.

Davis is believed to be the first sophomore to ever qualify for internationals in an individual series event from Greenville.

Also, seniors Mattie Hogan and Kaitlyn Balko medaled in School Based Enterprise, which achieved a gold level certification for the school store — The Jacket Depot.

Senior Lauryn Day, who medaled with Bernth in the role-play category, said the competitions are definitely a team effort from all the students.

“We work together,” Day said. “One student doesn’t power over the other.”

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