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DECA team advances (again) to Internationals

The DECA team from Two Harbors, in just its second year of existence, has again advanced to the International Competition with its public relations project. This year, they raised funds and awareness of child hunger in Lake County. Submitted photo.

The DECA team from Two Harbors has proved its prowess by advancing to the highest level of DECA competition – for the second year in a row.

“This year, it’s a whole new topic. This year, we were trying to raise money and awareness,” President Calvin Luhrsen said.

The students focused on child hunger, particularly on the BackPack Program, which sends easy-to-prepare dishes home with kids for the weekend when they might not otherwise have reliable access to food.

For the DECA competition, they had to make a public relations plan and detail their efforts. DECA is an organization that prepares students for careers in marketing, management, finance and hospitality.

Throughout this school year, the DECA group held fundraisers, like a hypnotist show and an obstacle course event at the Two Harbors Winter Frolic, and tried to bring the issue of child hunger to the forefront.

“We knew that it was a problem and we thought we would help,” said Nathan Mickelson, a DECA member. He said he was shocked when he heard what a high demand there was for the BackPack Program at the Minnehaha Elementary School in Two Harbors.

“They were planning on having around 35 kids and they ended up having 70,” he said.

The students raised $1,200 and accepted 153 pounds of food throughout the year. That’s enough to support 10 kids in the BackPack Program for a year. Their efforts impressed judges at the DECA State Competition in Minneapolis the first weekend in March. The project advanced to the International Competition by placing third. Now, they are looking to raise money to pay for their trip to Atlanta May 3-6 to compete.

“Our three presenters did a really great job at state,” Coach Julie Benson said. “It was definitely a team effort.”

Benson said DECA helps prepare the kids for adult life, no matter which career path they choose. She said she wants to give all of the kids the chance to compete in Atlanta, whether their parents can afford it or not.

“Educational opportunities should not be limited to those who can write a check,” she said.

The team will be fundraising throughout March. They will bag groceries at Super One Foods in Two Harbors on March 15, donating the money to the BackPack program. On March 23, they will bag groceries again to raise money for the trip. They will also hold a bake sale at Two Harbors Federal Credit Union March 26-28.

“The community has a lot to be proud of,” she said. “It’s quickly becoming a solid program.”

To donate to the team’s effort, contact Benson at 834-8201 ext. 8353 or

LaReesa Sandretsky
LaReesa Sandretsky is a Two Harbors High School graduate and Duluth native who began working at the News-Chronicle in 2012 as a reporter. She took over as editor in 2014. She covers County Board, including the Lake County broadband project.
(218) 834-2141