DECA students get down to business in Glenwood |

DECA students get down to business in Glenwood

Pete FowlerGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado

High school students clad in black and dark blue suits dotted sidewalks Monday as around 676 of them descended upon Glenwood Springs for the 24th DECA Invitational. With about 50 teachers and staff from Grand Junction and the Front Range, the annual Distributive Education Clubs of America Glenwood Springs event amounts to probably the largest conference the city sees annually.”It probably is one of the biggest if not the biggest annual conference that Glenwood hosts,” said Marianne Virgili, president and CEO of the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association. “I think there’s a definite economic impact to the community as well as the fact that students go home and tell their families about Glenwood Springs and then they come back and ski or raft or do some of the many other activities that we have.”

On Monday, students created solutions to business challenges and role played with judges, who evaluated their schemes.Seniors from Thornton’s Horizon High School, Allison Matney and Natalie Rivas, just finished their role play Monday afternoon. Sunday, the first day, included a 100-question multiple choice test in their subject area – travel and tourism. The two chose to pair up rather than go solo.”It’s easier to feed off somebody than if you’re in there by yourself,” Rivas said.They learned of their challenge about a half-hour before interacting with their judge. They had to sell their “Beyond the Ordinary” travel agency to a Frontier Airlines CEO to try to win a crucial business relationship. A big part of the pitch was Tokyo. Everyone else pushes Europe and the standard destinations so this could set their business apart, they said.

They got interested in DECA after hearing other students come back from trips with stories.”It’s such a good experience for public speaking skills,” Rivas said.”You learn a lot of things you need in the business world,” Matney said.

Students will attend an awards banquet tonight and head out later in the evening.A district conference is coming up in December, but this invitational started 24 years ago to give kids more opportunity to practice and advance their skills. It’s the only one on the Western Slope, according to longtime business teacher and DECA advisor Bryan Whiting.DECA’s goal is to develop students’ leadership and business skills beyond what the classroom can provide. The Web site boasts more than 185,000 high school and college students in 5,000 chapters located in the U.S., Canada, Germany, Mexico and Puerto Rico.

Contact Pete Fowler: 945-8515, ext. 16611 pfowler@postindependent.comPost Independent, Glenwood Springs Colorado CO

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