Photo by Ramona Harper.

The Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA) is an international nonprofit designed to prepare young entrepreneurs through educational business competitions. 

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DECA hosts the annual International Career Development Conference (ICDC) in Anaheim, California, inviting over 22,000 top students across all DECA chapters to learn and compete in a series of educational challenges. 

Lake Highlands High School senior Isabel Willis has been selected by DECA to compete in the Apparels and Accessories Marketing category.

In the Apparel and Accessories Marketing competition, participants take a 100-question test and take part in a “roleplay” where they are given a scenario with 10 minutes to plan out the presentation for the selected topic. Competitors are scored on presentation and accuracy.

“Through the Apparel and Accessories Marketing category, I have gained real-world experience that will prepare me for the things I plan on studying in college and the career I want to go into: fashion marketing,” Willis says. “I plan on making a big impact on the fashion business world and I 100% believe that DECA’s role plays and tests have prepared me for this by sharpening my abilities to think quickly and critically.” 

While Willis gets a lot out of DECA personally, it’s definitely a group effort. 

“Our chapter has been involved with monthly meetings to connect about preparation for competition, fundraising efforts, collaboration with other school chapters and community service at Feed My Starving Children,” Willis says. 

The DECA chapter at LHHS is sponsored by teachers Ramona Harper and JulieAnn Bever. Willis is in Harper’s room every day preparing for DECA by studying performance indicators, marketing vocabulary and practicing roleplays.

“I truly believe this continuous daily practice, support, and dedication is what has allowed me to advance so far,” she says. “I am so excited to be competing in California in April as it gives me a chance to meet and connect with people at DECA’s highest-level competition.”