Marquette sent seven representatives to last week's Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA) District 1 Competition and returned with two first-place prizes, a second-place finish, and a fourth and fifth-place result.
Eight schools are represented within District 1: Marquette, Morgan Township, Morton, Munster, New Prairie, Valparaiso, Washington Township, and Westville High Schools.
Business instructor Mrs. Colleen Meyer is in her second year guiding Marquette's chapter. Meyer acquired her B.A. in business from Indiana University before earning her master's in education from DePaul University.
She views DECA as a structured outlet for students to cultivate a wide variety of interpersonal and professional skills.
"Students get an opportunity to put their best foot forward in a professional manner. As their advisor, I love watching them continue to refine and develop critical thinking, problem-solving, oral communication, and leadership skills," Meyer said.
This year's event shifted to a virtual format due to the pandemic. Meyer was complimentary of the committee's work in mimicking the district competition of years past.
Participants are given a 100-question exam before taking part in a role-play. During the role-play exercise, students are posed with a situation about their respective areas. They have just 30 minutes to collaborate on a solution before performing in front of a panel of judges.
Senior Aidan Bartnicki placed first in the Accounting Applications portion of the Individual Series. Bartnicki, an MQTT-U student who projects to earn 86 dual credits by June, is confident the work he's doing now will yield even greater dividends down the road.
"It has made me much more comfortable giving presentations and analyzing information. I plan on studying business in college so this will give me an excellent knowledge base," Bartnicki said.
Not all DECA competitors plan on studying business; however, the ancillary benefits of the program will translate across any discipline.
Senior Molly Neary plans to study political science beginning next year. She has already been accepted to IUPUI and is awaiting word from Harvard following an interview with the Ivy League institution last week. Despite pursuing a potential career in a different field, she has thoroughly enjoyed her involvement in the organization as well as Marquette's business curriculum.
"DECA has helped my public speaking skills and it has helped me learn how to think on my feet. I knew little to nothing about business before I got involved, but Mrs. Meyer has been an amazing teacher and has taught me so much information about the business world," Neary remarked.
Ryan, who currently holds 63 dual credits and projects to earn an additional 20 by graduation, also plans on majoring in a non-business field but hopes to continue her involvement in DECA in college.
Meyer's tutelage worked its magic on the two business rookies as Neary and Ryan captured first place out of five competing teams in the Entrepreneurship portion of the Team Decision-Making Events.
Senior Adam Burroughs and junior Yasmir Young placed fourth and fifth, respectively, in the Entrepreneurship leg of the Individual Series. Like Bartnicki, Burroughs is also on an 86-dual credit-path by year's end. Young, meanwhile, possesses 35 through five semesters.
Sophomores Mary Cate Neary and Jake Zientarski punched above their weight as they collected a second-place result out of four teams in the Marketing Management competition. Neary and Zientarski have accumulated 15 dual credits each through their first three semesters at Marquette.
Neary appreciates the personal growth she has experienced at a relatively young age.
"I've learned a lot about how to approach business presentations as well as the confidence to give them. You have to be professional in all aspects and be organized. I would really like to pursue environmental business in my future and DECA is preparing me for business presentations and research I have to do," she reflected.
All students are advancing to the State Career Development Conference (SCDC) which will be held virtually from February 28th-March 2nd.
"DECA provides students with tangible and real-life learning opportunities and I am proud of these students and the professionalism they exhibited. Not only do they serve as great representatives of Marquette Catholic High School, but they are also highlighting their future leadership potential and capabilities," Meyer concluded.