Local DECA students shine

Nashua Technology Center top school for statewide DECA awards

NASHUA – “Learn. Become. Succeed.”

These are words spread throughout the Nashua Technology Center and instilled in all Career Technical Education programs. It is a mindset to follow and in the center’s DECA program.

Recently, 90 students from Nashua High School North and South competed in the statewide DECA competition at the DoubleTree Hotel in Manchester. DECA, a career and technical student organization with members from across the world, prepares students to become emerging leaders and entrepreneurs in marketing, finance, hospitality and management.

Of the 14 New Hampshire schools that competed in the statewide competition, students from the center won the most awards — 19 gold, 11 silver and eight bronze.

During this competition, students could compete in a number of different categories in business, marketing, finance, entrepreneurship and hospitality.

Sixty-four Nashua students qualified to compete at the international DECA competition, which will take place April 27 to May 1 in Florida.

In the statewide DECA competition, Nashua High School South marketing teacher and DECA adviser Suzanne Winters said there were two categories. The first category consisted of a role-playing event in which students were given a comprehensive exam and situational case studies. The students had to act out the case study and role-play in front of a judge to demonstrate how they understood certain problems put forth.

The second part of the competition, in which Winters said Nashua was very strong in and why they beat other New Hampshire high schools, were the written events. This consisted of 20-page comprehensive business plans on the student’s projects and a 15-minute presentation to judges from students about their topics.

Winters said the topics were diverse and ranged from innovative apps to community projects to public relations campaigns.

“They had to create the whole strategic plan of what they are going to get out of all the work they put in for months,” Winters said.“It’s really kind of intense and these kids do it as a club — it is all a club. It’s quite a commitment and Nashua really gets behind these kids. They have done remarkably well.”

From now until the international competition, students will have time to reflect on the comments from the state judges and prepare their projects for the next competition. The international competition is like no other.

“It’s kind of a crazy world, the DECA world,” Winters added. “It’s a big world for our kids to enter into. It’s a really neat thing to watch them interact with students from all across the world.”

“There are some really, really strong projects this year. It’s going to be great to be there,” she added.

Now, the next step for students is raising the funds to attend the international competition. Winters said some students don’t have the means to pay for the trip, which costs about $1,400 per student. Winters said the DECA group will be doing community outreach and fundraising to help their classmates who can’t really afford the trip.

Winters added she couldn’t have done this without the help of her counterpart, Stacy Gringas.

“We worked hard and the kids really gave it 100 percent this year,” Winters said. “It’s nice to see that not only did they do well at the competition, but that some students have actually changed our community in a better way this year.”