By proclamation from the Governor of North Dakota, November 2014 is designated as DECA Month for the state. Read what this high school organization is accomplishing within Fargo Public Schools to prep students for careers and college, including a special scholarship for 2014-15 FPS high school seniors.
Who gets involved in DECA? (video) We do! Fargo Public Schools’ three comprehensive high schools each operate a DECA Chapter. In addition, several of the 2014-15 North Dakota DECA State Officers are FPS students: Anna Lawley (South High) is serving as President, along with Brady Boeddeker (South) and Adam Vareberg (Davies) who are serving as Vice Presidents. “DECA provides the resources and opportunities for students to be successful and gain skills that will benefit them throughout their lives,” shared Lawley.
DECA was founded in 1946 as the Distributive Education Clubs of America. While their mission has remained the same throughout the years – to prepare emerging leaders and entrepreneurs in marketing, finance, hospitality and management – their scope has since gone international, and the acronym has been dropped.
There are more than 3,500 high school DECA chapters, with more than 200,000 high school members in 5,000 classrooms throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Guam, People’s Republic of China, Hong Kong, South Korea, Japan, Germany, Spain, and Turkey.
DECA is one of ten Career and Technical Student Organizations recognized by the United States Department of Education. “CTSOs play an important supporting role in the education process as a co-curricular club which extends learning beyond the classroom,” shared Dr. Denise Jonas, Director of Career and Technical Education Consortium Center.
“DECA activities provide a comprehensive learning program for its members as concepts learned within marketing courses are applied through leadership activities, community service projects, and state and national competitive events. DECA is a perfect complement to Career and Technical Education classroom courses, encompassing the 4 C’s of creativity, communication, collaboration, and critical-thinking. The students gain hand-in-hand theory and practical knowledge, which makes them stronger students and better leaders.” Each DECA chapter determines its own projects, and students complete all phases of project organization, execution, and presentation. The goal is to prepare students through real-world experiences for college and careers in marketing, finance, management, and other business areas.
Oftentimes DECA projects will encompass a social justice message. Inclusion, anti-bullying/drugs/alcohol, and internet safety are all message campaigns undertaken by various FPS DECA chapters over the past several years. DECA fundraiser projects typically benefit a non-profit social service organization such as Special Olympics, United Way, or Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA).
Davies High DECA Projects for 2014-15:
- Davies DECA will once again hold their Prom Fashion Show, featuring students with and without disabilities, on January 31, 2015.
- Project Unify is Davies’ effort to promote school-wide inclusion. Activities throughout the school year unite students with and without disabilities, who work together to accomplish a project. An April 2014 post on the group’s Facebook page chronicles one girl’s decision to enter the special education field for her career as a result of her Project Unify participation.
- With support from Ron and Karen Offutt of RDO, Davies DECA will offer a 2015 Entrepreneur and Business Scholarship, with over $5,000 in award money, to encourage and aid students interested in attending college for a business field. Additional RDO funds will provide an endowed annual Entrepreneurship Scholarship.
Jason Holland is the Davies’ DECA advisor.
North High DECA Projects for 2014-15:
- North staged a first-of-its-kind Prom Expo last year, which raised $656 for MDA. This bi-annual event will be held again in spring 2016.
- In celebration of North Dakota’s DECA Month, the North chapter has held special activities for the week of November 17-21, including several fundraisers for MDA.
- DECA members will visit north side elementary schools and Ben Franklin Middle School in December to inform them about MDA and those the agency serves. Afterwards, the DECA students will collect “Make A Change” coins for a donation to MDA.
The North DECA Chapter has averaged more than 150 members over the past three years, and has been recognized by National DECA as the largest DECA Chapter in North Dakota for each of those years. Craig Erickson oversees the North DECA Chapter.
South High DECA Projects for 2014-15:
- To kick off DECA Month, South DECA members recognized acts of kindness throughout the school for National World Kindness Day on November 13. Students were given a sticker to wear throughout the day in recognition of their positive actions towards others.
- Chapter members are also planning the annual Mr. South Pageant to be held on Friday, December 19. Event proceeds will benefit agencies associated with United Way of Cass Clay.
- The DECA chapter is partnering with the FPS AFJROTC program located at South to organize a Dodgeball Tournament in December or January. Event proceeds will go to the Wounded Warrior Project.
Sara Smith serves as the advisor for the South High DECA Chapter.
North Dakota devotes a gubernatorial proclamation and 30 days of attention to a high school club and its activities, which positively impact our students for a lifetime.
Application for the RDO Entrepreneur and Business Scholarship remains open through January 15, 2015 to all FPS 2014-15 graduating high school seniors.