DECA club expanding outreach | PostIndependent.com

DECA club expanding outreach

Glenwood Springs High School's DECA program is working hard to increase its exposure in the community, and also enjoying a fair amount of competition success in this rebuilding year.

The DECA club is under the advisement this school year of GSHS teacher Taylor Parsons following the retirement last year of program founder Bryan Whiting.

"We wanted to take his legacy forward, and also continue in our own way," Parsons said.

"We're a community based chapter, so our goal is to not only be successful in school and competitions, but also be out in the community," he said.

DECA, which stands for Distributive Education Clubs of America, is a business and marketing education program for high school juniors and seniors.

On the competition front, the Glenwood club recently took part in the district DECA event in Craig and will send 15 students to state on Feb. 21-23 in Colorado Springs.

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Last year, several students made it to the national and international DECA competition. The club is hoping to again have some representatives in that competition, taking place in April in Nashville, Tenn.

Senior Mariah Hagan is the club president this year. In addition to preparing for and taking part in competitions, she is spearheading a chapter campaign aimed at increasing the club's participation in community service projects and promoting itself more widely.

Recently, the club collected 23 boxes filled with gifts to send to children in Third World Countries through Operation Christmas Child.

Club officers also donated 15,000 grains of rice to help feed the hungry around the world through the FreeRice.com. The program challenges participants to answer a series of online questions in different academic areas. For each correct answer, 10 grains of rice are donated through the World Food Program.

Locally, club members also donated time at the CARE animal shelter, wrote letters to active duty soldiers, and raised money for the Wounded Warrior Project.

Club membership is down to about 85 students this year, from 200 or more in past years. So, it is a rebuilding year, Parsons said.

"We're doing it in a way that we believe is going to be more beneficial to the kids coming up through the program in the future," he said.

Hagan said the idea behind the chapter campaign is to lay the foundation for the future success of the program. Personally, she said she has gotten a lot out of her own participation.

"I wasn't sure what to expect last year, but I made it all the way to internationals," she said. "It's all about how to make it in the business world, how to prepare for interviews and get job.

"It also helps us become adults and to move forward into college," Hagan said.

Glenwood High's DECA club also has several fundraisers throughout the year, including earning money at the school supply store, selling planters and hosting the annual DECA competition each fall, attracting 450 students from 13 schools to Glenwood Springs.

Parsons said he is also in the initial stages of opening the program up to students from the other Roaring Fork School District high schools in Carbondale and Basalt.

Glenwood Springs High School DECA state qualifiers:

Herbie Vega – Automotive Services

Makena Warren and Kendall Vanderhoof – Business Law and Ethics Team

Abbie Cheney and Lauren Howell – Financial Services Team

Mariah Hagan and Vanessa Davila – Hospitality Services Team

Emily Carrington – Hotel and Lodging Management

Michaela Fiore-Ruger – Principles of Hospitality and Tourism

Kyah Green – Principles of Marketing

Matt Townsley – Retail Merchandising

Mason Yellico and Cameron Horning – Sports and Entertainment Team

Sara McCafferty and Kyla Rattin – Travel and Tourism Team