Own Your Future


Terrell Conner, Writer

DECA is an organization that portrays to teenagers what the business world is really like. At OHS, this organization is something special, with 80 students participating in it. Out of those 80, 60 of them got the chance to participate on a higher level in the DECA state conference. This event is held at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Minneapolis. At the state conference there are over 2,000 kids competing to go to the national conference in Anaheim, California. Of those 2,000, five members from Owatonna made it to this conference.

The state experience is much different than all of the other competitions the students have experienced. There are so many different people to meet, places to go in the city and different experiences. Senior Abby Haberman said, “For me, DECA state was very fun. I was very fortunate that I was able to go up for three different events. There is definitely way more competition at State than there is at districts so it’s way more challenging but that is much more fun!” Haberman is one of many to have this experience through the DECA organization.

One specific person involved in Owatonna DECA is the President Ivette Torres, who was voted into office by her peers. She received the 2017 DECA Emerging Leader Honor Award. This award recognizes a student’s studies in marketing, finance, hospitality and management for being academically prepared, community oriented, professionally responsible and an experienced leader through participation in DECA.

The National competition is on Apr. 26-29 in the Anaheim convention center in Anaheim, California. The participants stay a week at the conference, and compete against other students from all over the nation. The nine participants from Owatonna are: Ivette Torres, Katie Segler, Daniel Keller, Amy Oldenburg, Samantha Schuster, Amanda Collins, Erica Svenby, Braeden Meier and Nick Sande. These groups of students constructed projects such as starting their own business, promotion plans and start up plans. Mr. Pierce said,”It is a cool experience and it is impressive to see 12,000 kids acting like professionals.” They will present their projects to judges at the national level, which is the highest level of competition. It is also a great experience as the students get to see how competitive the business world actually is.