DUBOIS — Penn State DuBois recently welcomed high school students from across district one of Pennsylvania DECA for their annual conference.
Students competed for the chance to move on to the state level in February in Hershey, Pennsylvania. Students from Brockway, DuBois, McDowell, Ridgway, Smethport, St. Marys and the Warren County Career Center all had representatives who came to the campus ready and excited for the event.
Isabelle Ehrensberger, district one representative for Pennsylvania DECA and student at Ridgway area high school, welcomed everyone to the conference and offered some words of encouragement to each of the students.
“I know today is your first big competition,” Ehresnberger said. “But there has been a lot of participation in the chapter officer summit in June, the sports and entertainment conference in November and the power trip in November. Today you are all here to take your game to the next level.”
Competing individually or in a team of two, students are given a role play on a specific topic and individuals are given 10 minutes to prepare, or 20 minutes to prepare for teams, for a presentation. Then, each student or pair gives their presentation to a judge, who then also can ask questions on the topic and presentation. Role play scenarios include topics in marketing, finance, hospitality, management and more. Judges score each presentation, and that score is averaged with the score a student receives from a 100 question multiple choice test that each of them completes prior to the conference to give each student their final score.
While attending the conference, each student was part of a presentation and activities on entrepreneurship by Brad Lashinsky, director of the North Central PA LaunchBox powered by Penn State DuBois. They also got to tour and experience the capabilities of the Idea Lab, seeing firsthand its capabilities with 3D printing, engraving, augmented reality and virtual reality.
After the competition was complete, everyone gathered in Hiller Auditorium for the awards ceremony. Students receiving the two highest scores in each role play category received medals. Glass trophies were given to those students who scored highest in role play, the written test and overall.
DECA prepares emerging leaders and entrepreneurs for careers in marketing, finance, hospitality and management while they are students in high school. DECA has 12 districts in Pennsylvania that has more than 5000 members currently, the largest number of members the state has ever had.