Local students from Longview, Kelso, and Castle Rock will travel to Atlanta Georgia to compete with students from Canada, Spain, Puerto Rico, and China at the International Career Development Conference. For R. A. Long High School in Longview, Washington, this will be the first year in many that students have made it to the international DECA conference. DECA, or Distributive Clubs of America is a business centric organization committed to providing “a remarkable experience in the preparation of emerging leaders and entrepreneurs.”
Sue Edmunson teaches CTE at R. A. Long in Longview, Washington. While other schools in the southwest Washington area have classes dedicated to preparing students for entrepreneurial competitions, Edmunson’s students have to study on their own time, after school.
Preparation includes intensive study of course materials in business management and administration, marketing, finance, and hospitality and tourism, and business administration management. Judges for the competition come from business and industry and volunteer to help students prepare to become future business leaders. For students to be able to compete in a local area, they must pass 100 questions tests with high scores At the competition, students have to take the test and then perform impromptu scenarios that are given to them by the judges.
Winners advance to state, national, and then the international competition which will be held in Atlanta from May 2-6, this year.
Edmunson’s students will be competing in “Buying and Merchandising Team Decision Making.”
Edmunson is a vocal advocate of career and technical education. In a phone interview, she voiced respect and pride for the 24 students who entered the competition. “The most impressive thing about being involved in a program like this is that I have never had a kid get this far into the competition without realizing that they need to continue investing in themselves to continue to develop,” she said.
Edmunson notes that students in her program realize that they have achieved this success on their own, outside of the classroom. They see the business leaders seek out their skills. They build camaraderie with other students. “When they succeed at this level, they just want to grow more,” she said.