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Students prepare for international competition

Krystle Wagner • Apr 3, 2017 at 10:00 AM

More than a dozen local high school students are fundraising and preparing to attend an international marketing conference.

During the Michigan DECA State Career Development Conference, one Grand Haven High School student and 12 Fruitport High School students qualified for the DECA International Career Development Conference. The conference will take place April 25-30 in Anaheim, California.

Students attending the international conference are Grand Haven’s Hannah Staal and Fruitport’s Faith Clark, Haileigh Christiansen, Taylor Dornbos, Jaydie Hanks, Chloe Kern, Caitlynn Christiansen, Max Wright, Brendan Peterman, Ryan Poulin, Katie Veihl, Kelsie Schultz and Grace Thornton.

Through DECA, students have the chance to network with business leaders and entrepreneurs, said GHHS teacher Chad Jettner.

In addition to giving a presentation and taking tests, Jettner said students are given a scenario on the spot, and they have 10 minutes to solve the problem. Students also have to take an online test and go through two role-playing scenarios.

“They come away with confidence that can extend beyond the classroom,” he said.

This year, 31 GHHS students attended the state level, which is the largest number of students in Jettner’s 19 years of going to the conference.

Fruitport High School teacher Danielle Hershey took 35 students to the state conference. Hershey said she’s most proud of her DECA students for “taking the risk” of joining the program that prepares students for business, marketing, problem solving, interviewing and 21st-century skills.

“DECA is the first time many of these students are in an interview type situation,” she said. “It is nerve-wracking for a 15-year-old. My students put in hours of work writing papers, creating presentations and visual aids, or studying for their competitive exams.”

In addition to preparing for presentations and exams, Hershey said her students also organize community service projects such as teaching financial literacy to elementary students, collecting donations for nonprofits and organizing talent shows.

As students prepare for competition, they’re also fundraising to cover the costs of participating at the international level.

The local group of students will join more than 10,000 DECA members from all 50 states, plus China, Mexico, Canada, Spain, Germany, Puerto Rico and Guam, Hershey said.

Fruitport students are working on a “Christmas Card Fundraiser,” in which they will send letters to family and friends on their Christmas card lists. They are also working on a pop can drive.

Send your donation for Fruitport students to: Danielle Hershey, Fruitport High School, 357 N. Sixth St., Fruitport, MI 49415.

To make a donation for Grand Haven’s student, contact Chad Jettner at jettnerc@ghaps.org.

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