Spotswood High students will compete in career conference

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More than 30 Spotswood High School Distributive Education Clubs of America members will compete in the International Career Development conference.
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More than 30 Spotswood High School Distributive Education Clubs of America members will compete in the International Career Development conference.
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More than 30 Spotswood High School Distributive Education Clubs of America members will compete in the International Career Development conference.
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More than 30 Spotswood High School Distributive Education Clubs of America members will compete in the International Career Development conference.
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More than 30 Spotswood High School Distributive Education Clubs of America members will compete in the International Career Development conference.
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More than 30 Spotswood High School Distributive Education Clubs of America members will compete in the International Career Development conference.

SPOTSWOOD–More than 30 Spotswood High School Distributive Education Clubs of America members will compete in the International Career Development conference.

DECA prepares emerging leaders and entrepreneurs in marketing, finance, hospitality and management in high schools and colleges around the globe, according to Spotswood High School Marketing Teacher and DECA Advisor Kelly Meagher.

“Students compete in a wide variety of business and marketing situations through role play and manual events. An example of a manual event that my students completed this year was working one-on-one with a business to prepare a 30-page manual of recommendations to improve their overall customer experience,” Meagher said. “They then had to present these strategies to a judge, who acted as if they were that business owner.”

This spring, 33 DECA members will compete in the High School Division International Career Development conference April 21-24 in Atlanta.

“Last year, [DECA] had 65 members. This year we grew to 87. I was actually a ‘DECA kid’ in high school, but never was as involved with the program as much as my students are. This is my eighth year teaching, my second year at Spotswood High School and my second year as DECA advisor,” Meagher said.

Each student will compete against the top five or six from every state/country in the event they placed in at the state level, according to Meagher.

Participating students:

  •  Matt Amador and Gina Ridgway placed fifth for their Public Relations manual;
  •  Amanda Mausser and Joey Bartusek placed fifth for their Lean and Earn manual;
  •  Megan Clarke and Michaela Robinson placed fifth for their Creative Marketing manual;
  •  Liz LoBiondo and Kimmy Lourerio placed fifth for their Community Service manual;
  •  Liana Yanchuck and Krista Van Wageninge placed third place for their Advertising Campaign manual;
  • Jayme Herman placed second for her Start Up Business Plan manual;
  • Alessia Tavella and Giavanna Walsh placed fifth, and Leah Demers and Stephanie Gumprecht placed sixth for their Sports and Entertainment Operations Research manuals;
  • Erin Drebych and Hannah White placed fourth for their Hospitality and Tourism Operations Research manual;
  • Kimmy Reichardt and Kennedy Simpson placed fifth for their Business Services Operations Research manual;
  • Derek Miller, Josh Mathew and Sean Duffy placed first and Ryan Miller placed third for their Sports and Entertainment Promotion Plan manuals.

“In addition to those 23, 10 more students will be joining us to participate in various leadership academies. They have earned these spots through their participation and dedication to the program. We earned these spots through DECA by completing various community service endeavors and projects,” Meagher said.

The students completing in various leader academies include Lexi Brown, Kayla Dekovics, Michael Minnihan, Megan Flanigan, Steven Karczewski, Maya Wesen, Shannon Toth, Dylan Molloy, Micaela Tompkins and Gabby Dellaglio.

In addition, at the New Jersey DECA conference, Spotswood High School Principal Thomas Calder was named DECA Administrator of the Year, according to Meagher.

“I couldn’t be more proud. This is the largest attendance in Spotswood DECA’s history, both at states and the [International Career Development conference] level,” Meagher said. “To be able to take over a program that was already successful and take it to that next level has been extremely rewarding; however, my students make it easy. They are an extremely hardworking and dedicated group. It has been unbelievable to see the growth in all of them just since last year.”

Meagher said students should join DECA because they will learn real world skills.

“Many of my students talk about how they have the confidence to address individuals and large audiences. They know how to dress for success, and they carry themselves differently than the average high schooler. Many of the manuals they do are actual business plans and proposals,” she said. “Beyond working with local businesses, many of these manuals focus around community service projects the students organize and run themselves.”

According to Meagher, the community service and public relations manuals both raised more than $10,000 for the Embrace Kids Foundation and the American Liver Foundation.

“This program builds our future leaders and gives them the tools they need to be successful in any career they choose,” Meagher said.

For more information, visit www.spsd.us or call 732-723-2200.

Contact Vashti Harris at vharris@newspapermediagroup.com.