Playing The Part

Two students at Southwestern High School competed against other students at an international level during the DECA International Career Development Conference.

Conrad Meyer, a sophomore, and Noah Wright, a senior, went to Atlanta, Ga., early in May to compete in the human resources management and marketing management events, respectively, against other high school students from across the country, as well as Canada, Mexico, Guam, China and Germany among others.

The boys had to roleplay certain scenarios and take written exams as they learned necessary skill sets needed in a business and workplace environment. Meyer’s roleplay consisted of dealing with an insubordinate employee who was an invaluable asset to the company – and thus could not be fired – and Wright had to prepare a marketing plan to help a health care walk-in clinic that had been challenged by an upstart business in the area which was more convenient but the quality of care wasn’t top notch.

“One of the biggest things is confidence. I mean if you are not confident, the judge will not believe what you are saying – that’s really important,” Wright said. “A lot of people sort of wing it. It’s really important to acquire a body of knowledge and present that to the judge clearly and concisely.”

“It’s also about giving them a good impression of you,” Meyer added. “You need to shake their hand, use their name, have eye contact, refer to the company name – really get into character.”

To compete in the international conference, both Meyer and Wright had to compete – and win – in a regional competition in Salamanca and a state competition. Wright received a medallion in recognition for being in the top 10 in the written portion of his event.

“Business wise, you’ve got to be out there,” Meyer said when asked about what they learned because of DECA. “The opportunities aren’t going to come to you.”

“One of the things you will learn in business is that you need to play the part for every occasion,” Wright said.

Wright will be going to St. John’s University in New York City to be a mathematician who focuses on risk analysis and how that plays a role in business, and Meyer will be going into a science-related field.

DECA was established over 60 years ago and has impacted the lives of more than 10 million students, educators, school administrators and business professionals since it was founded in 1946. Its core goal teaches the students about management, marketing and entrepreneurship.