• Bob Vlach, Woodford Sun Staff

WCHS students earn awards at regional DECA conference

DECA CLUB students from Woodford County High School earned multiple awards for their business and marketing knowledge at the DECA Regional Conference. From left, are (front row) Lily Stewart, Lauren Moore, Emma Wesley and advisor Heather Schuerman; (middle) advisor Blair Hicks, Hayden Rankin, Alex Sowder, Walter Horn, Chance Burnett, Greyson Rankin, Keelie McClellan and Kiera Gill; (back) Lauren Miller, Drew Blaydes, Chris Ramirez, Ian Davis, Brody McCoun, Irvin Flores Sanchez, Katherine Kelly and Emilyn Williams. (Photo submitted)

Woodford County High School students earned multiple awards for their business and marketing acumen at the DECA Regional Conference at Eastern Kentucky University.

First place awards were earned by Brody McCoun (sports and entertainment marketing), Emilyn Williams (personal financial literacy), and Lauren Miller and Lily Stewart (marketing management team decision making) in Region 4.

While preparing for presentations at the DECA (Distributive Education Clubs of America) conference, WCHS students needed to learn real world business skills.

“If you’re dealing with a customer in a retail situation and they have a problem then you need to turn around and be able to solve their problem quickly without making them irritated or angry,” explained Emma Wesley, who earned a second place in retail merchandising.

In addition to learning how to communicate in a business setting, DECA advisor Heather Schuerman said her students gained valuable life skills while delving into case studies in a variety of career clusters at the conference.

“A lot of our kids are very clever and they’re quick thinkers,” said Schuerman, “but they don’t always know how to present (their ideas) to somebody. They have great ideas, but they don’t know how to organize those (ideas) into a logical train of thought, and to solve a problem with that information.”

She described the recent DECA conference as an opportunity for her students to share their ideas and their solutions with professionals in the business world, while also exploring possible careers.

Alex Sowder received a second place in sports and entertainment marketing, Drew Blaydes earned a third place in apparel and accessories marketing, Chance Burnett took home a second place for retail merchandising, Irvin Flores and Grayson Rankin took home a third place in travel and tourism team decision making, Chris Ramirez earned a fourth place in restaurant and food service management, Katherine Kelly and Lauren Moore earned a fourth place in buying and merchandising team decision making, Ian Davis received a fifth place in hotel and lodging management, Kiera Gill and Keelie McClellan earned a fifth place in business law and ethics team decision making, and Walter Horn (seventh) and Hayden Rankin (eighth) earned awards in entrepreneurship.

The students received their awards after taking tests with 100 questions on a specific career or career cluster before going to the regional conference, where they demonstrate that knowledge to judges who are professionals in the business world.

“They (the judges) decide,” said Schuerman,” how did you present yourself, how much knowledge did you have in that field, was your idea feasible, and were you even using that terminology that you’ve learned … from a career cluster to present your idea?”

Being a member of the DECA Club may also help her students develop connections outside of the classroom, which “can help us later on in life,” said WCHS freshman Emilyn Williams.

Some students have even gotten job opportunities because of what they learned and demonstrated to professionals from the business world at a statewide DECA conference.

Students in the DECA Club at WCHS will get to present case studies at the state conference in Louisville, March 4 to 6.

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