Thursday, May 17, 2018

Two Carrboro High DECA Students Compete at Internationals

In April, for the first time ever, two district students competed at the DECA International Career Development Conference (ICDC). Kirby Thornton and Leanne Joyce of Carrboro High School traveled to Atlanta for the three-day 2018 competition. DECA advisor and Marketing Education teacher, Julie Francis, traveled with them. When they returned, Francis reported with pride the accomplishments of her students; Joyce placed in the Top 10 of the Business Growth Plan competition in Entrepreneurship, while Thornton received honors in Food Marketing. Joyce established her 501c3 non-profit, Positive Impact for Kids, when she was in middle school, after being diagnosed with a heart condition.
DECA is an international Business and Marketing organization, whose mission is to prepare emerging leaders and entrepreneurs in marketing, finance, hospitality and management around the world. The annual ICDC is open to two separate divisions: High School, with 200,00 members in 3,500 schools, and a smaller Collegiate division with more than 15,000 students in 275 colleges and universities. This year’s conference hosted 19,000 DECA members, so Thornton and Joyce found themselves in the midst of more business-oriented youth than they could have imagined.
“DECA is one of the coolest things I’ve been a part of because of the networking ability you have at a conference,” said Thornton. “It’s commonplace at ICDC to walk up to anyone and ask them where they’re from, what event they’re doing, or any other random question you may have. Our hotel had open areas, and kids from all different states would congregate and play cards together. It was really awesome to have that kind of community.” Thornton said it was especially a privilege to be the only two students representing CHCCS.
The whirlwind experience in Atlanta was the culmination of months of preparation and competitions at the local and state levels. Joyce placed second in the North Carolina competition for Business Growth Plan with her 30-page growth plan. Before traveling to internationals, she revised it once more and also prepared for an onstage interview by judges of the event. Thornton needed to prepare for both a test and role play scenarios for her Food Marketing competition.
For students who commit to DECA throughout their high school years, the pay off and increased confidence can be substantial. “My involvement in DECA has taught me so much about myself and about other people,” said Thornton. “I’m always so proud when I get to see members of my chapter improving at every competition. I’m especially proud of the younger kids. It always seems to be the young, quiet freshman that shows the most improvement. Most importantly, I’ve learned that everyone has leadership capabilities. Anyone that takes the initiative to join has the qualities they need to be successful in DECA.”
“Carrboro High DECA is an amazing opportunity for students who are interested in Business and Marketing,” said Francis. “This organization prepares students to get first hand knowledge about Business and Marketing as they enter the next phase of their education and career.”