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Club Spotlight: DECA Helps Students Build Business Savvy

From left to right: 2022 graduate Corbin Bower; senior Sebastian Ellis; 2022 graduate Isaiah Hughes; juniors Charlie Adkins, Abby Stone, Kayla Lavalle, and Autumn Ballagh taking a group picture for States.

By Lily Lovette and Sarah Rafael--Eagle Staff Writers

FCHS has many career-oriented programs, classes, and clubs to help students with leadership and prepare them for their futures. That's where the Franklin County High School DECA club comes into place.

DECA (Distributive Education Clubs of America) is an association that encourages the development of business and leadership skills. The organization was founded in 1946 and has since “impacted the lives of more than ten million students, educators, school administrators and business professionals,” according to their official website.

Here on campus, however, the DECA club was started 45 years ago and is now advised by Melvin Patterson with the hopes that all students, whether interested in business or looking to get out of their comfort zone, can learn and find successful opportunities.

“I joined DECA to try something new. At the time I was a sophomore and was trying to broaden my horizons and take advantage of my opportunities,” junior and club member Abigail Stone said.

Club members have added that DECA has become more than a club to them; it's also a connection.

“DECA really is a community,” Stone continued. "The advisors at our school are amazing...I absolutely love being in DECA. It is such a cool environment.”

The club participates in many activities and competitions that come with a chance to travel and earn scholarships. Club members do “role plays” where they pick a career cluster in the general world of business that interests them, including Marketing, Business Management and Administration, Finance, and Hospitality and Tourism. Then, they tackle any business issues that may arise in the real world.

“The hardest part of DECA is how quickly you have to think. You are given your situation and only have 10 minutes to prepare,” Stone explained.

Afterward, members make pitches to try and solve the problem, which Patterson went on to describe.

“They will be given an additional 5-10 minutes to have one-on-one open dialogue with a judge. The student must prove to the judge they understand their performance indicators and industry,” he said.

The DECA club here participates in these competitions around Christmas and depending on how they perform, the club will potentially go to State Competition in March.

“You must be well versed in the subject you are speaking about in order to be successful,” Stone admitted.

Patterson shared that the club is always looking for new members and is reportedly a great place to find a potential career and a strong community.

“DECA is an in-person opportunity for students to gain self-confidence in public speaking, networking, interview skills, all while competing to win in their specific events,” Patterson expressed.

Don’t solely trust Patterson, though, as it’s said that the best advice comes from those involved on the front lines.

“I recommend DECA to every single student. There are so many categories that interest different people. You can make long-lasting memories here and have so much fun,” Stone concluded.

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