Final battle: DECA at internationals

May 4, 2019

After continuous competitions and awards, the Homestead international-qualifying DECA team finally took on the International Career Development Conference in Orlando, Fla. At this event, on the weekend of April 23, over 10,000 DECA members from many countries including the United States, China, Spain, Canada, the United Kingdom and Mexico competed for the best overall ranking.

In the past, the Homestead qualifying team achieved greatness at the district and state level competitions, in addition to qualifying earning a top-six place in their category. There are over fifty categories offered at DECA internationals; the Highlanders were asked to compete in their categories with students from all over the world.

Zach Zens, junior and international competitor was ranked top fifty in the nation along with his partner Drew Braaten, junior. Zens claims his experience in Orlando was extremely valuable considering his future business career path.

“There are a few school-based organizations that truly allow you to explore the real world; I am fortunate to have DECA at Homestead,” Zens said.

Zens’s perspective is shared by Sara Li, freshman, and fellow Homestead qualifier. “The entire structure of the organization really encourages creativity as well as networking, and I’ve learned so much from the whole experience.”

A talented business student and international competitor, Dylan Bradley, junior, was awarded a medal after taking a mandatory business test, a distinct part of the competition. Bradley earned one of the highest test scores in the nation. Brandley stresses the quintessential part DECA played with giving students opportunities and hands-on skills.

“DECA is really underrated at Homestead, and I think it’s important that more people get word of it. I think most people understand the influence that surrounding yourself with motivated people can make, but it can be difficult to do so in high school. DECA as an organization is made up of hardworking, go-getter types who are all about ‘the hustle’,” Bradley said.

Business teacher and DECA advisor, Garrett Sterken, said, “The trip was perfect. I couldn’t have asked for a better group of students. The future is very bright for these kids, and I’m very excited I was and will be a part of it.”

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