DECA Club works, plays hard at California conference

By Lydia Goerner | May 30, 2017
Courtesy of: Monice Maurice Students from Wareham High School enjoy California weather as they gain leadership skills.

Wareham High School students recently attended a leadership conference in California where they competed and learned valuable life skills.

Students in the high school’s DECA Club had the opportunity to attend the annual International Career Development Conference at the end of April. The DECA Club prepares students to be leaders and entrepreneurs for careers in marketing, management, finance and hospitality.

Freshmen through seniors, nine in total, flew to Anaheim for the conference. Three of the students were part of the conference’s competition.

The competitive participants were Ryann McSherry in the food marketing series, Abigail Glidden in the accounting series and Brett McSherry in the hotel and lodging series. They all received awards of excellence, placing in the top 30 percent in their categories.

“Competition was really tough this year,” said Monice Maurice, Wareham High School’s marketing teacher and DECA advisor. “There were a lot of really tough schools, but our kids held their own.”

There were several different academies students could choose from, which focused on different aspects of student leadership.

Joshua Flaherty, Jamie Read, Victoria Crockett, Elisabeth Ruiz, Tyler Litchfield and Andrew Thompson all attended the presentations in the topics they were interested in, including goal setting, communication, organization skills, being a DECA officer and life after high school graduation.

The students were busy throughout the few days they were away, attending a fashion show, Echosmith concert, Disneyland, Knottsberry Farm Park, California Adventure Park, Venice Beach, Hollywood and Santa Monica Pier.

“Just like any other professional conference, they work really hard, they network really hard and then they play really hard,” Maurice said. “But always with a professional expectation and attitude.”

DECA has gone to this conference for over 20 years, Maurice said. The club began in 1976 at Wareham High School. Now, over 20 percent of students in the school are in the club.

The benefit of DECA is that it connects academics contextually with real-life experiences, Maurice said. Students apply what they learn with activities throughout the year, including their spaghetti supper, partnering with Wareham Ford and working with the Vietnam Moving Wall, coming to Wareham in August.

“They really do the job of adults,” Maurice said.

More than 19,000 students, advisors and business representatives attended this year’s DECA conference. There are 270,000 student DECA members around the world.

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