By JEN CARDINES
One thousand high school DECA students from across the state met at the Aqua Turf Club on Monday, March 13 for a state-wide competition. Southington High School had 24 students in the mix, representing grades nine through 12, who competed in the all-day event.
DECA prepares emerging leaders and entrepreneurs in marketing, finance, hospitality and management. Students participated in multiple events under the categories of hospitality and tourism, finance, entrepreneurship, business management, and marketing.
“All of our competitors put forth their best effort and came away with very positive experiences,” said DECA advisor Sandy Spinello.
The state-level competition was a gateway to the national event that takes place in Anaheim, Calif. next month. Students who receive the top three places in each category are invited to compete at the big event. Southington’s chapter saw four students place for Anaheim.
Seniors Kayla Birmingham, Danny Borkowski, and Matt Gundersen took home third place for the “Learn and Earn” project, and for the second year in a row, senior Megan Mahon took first place for the entrepreneurship promotion project. Their top three finishes earned them a chance to compete nationally.
“Southington’s DECA program had a successful showing,” said Spinello.
Other notable results were issued to SHS students. In Hospitality Services, juniors Joelle Wankerl and Marissa Calandra received fourth place and freshman Jacob Gius and Senior Aiden Ciaffaglione received fifth place.
Senior Andrew Gorham took home sixth place in Retail Merchandising and senior Samantha Steeves received sixth place in Human Resource Management.
By doing a promotional community service campaign, SHS earned three additional spots for the Anaheim conference. Those spots are not for competition, but students who are chosen by the advisors can be involved in the leadership conference.
Birmingham, Borkowski, Gundersen, and Mahon will represent Southington at the national competition April 25 through April 30.
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Jen Cardines, email her at JCardines@SouthingtonObserver.com.