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Two Harbors students get a taste of the business world with state competition

Last week Two Harbors High School senior Steph McGregor went in for a job interview. But instead of waiting for a phone call from a potential employer, McGregor found out how she did by a judge's evaluation.

"I think that helped me prepare myself for real job interviews," she said.

McGregor is one of six students at Two Harbors High School that is a member of Distributive Education Clubs of America, an organization that helps student interested in marketing, finance, hospitality and management learn more about those careers and what goes into them. Last week the Two Harbors students competed at the state DECA competition.

While DECA has been a nationwide organization for more than 60 years, DECA at Two Harbors High School was first started this year. Two Harbors High School business education teacher Julie Benson is the advisor. She said the idea for DECA was hatched after THHS principal Brett Archer and she talked about how to offer more opportunities for their students. Benson brought the idea to her students in her Introduction to Marketing class.

Junior Bryan Deming, one of those students, said he and his fellow classmates were enthusiastic. "We researched it and it sounded really cool so we talked to Ms. Benson about starting a program," he said.

Students compete in district competitions and if they qualify, move on to state competition and then nationals in different categories such as sales demonstrations. Benson said she was really proud of her students. "It was our first year and the kids did so well," she said.

Benson added that she has seen their public speaking skills improve and that the competitions have a strict code of conduct. "They step up to the occasion," she said.

Sophomore Ashley Lax competed in the business-to-business sales demonstrations at the state competition in Minneapolis. Her job was to sell Carnival Cruise Lines like she would to a travel agent. "I made a presentation and told them why Carnival was the best choice," she said.

All of the students who were not graduating this year said they plan on participating in DECA next year and that they think membership will go up. They have been talking to their friends about becoming members of DECA as well. Junior Skylar Lysaker said DECA offers its members many advantages. "You get to meet new people and experience new things," he said.

"It's like getting a glimpse into the business world," junior Asher Jenkins said. Junior Holly Nowacki said DECA appealed to her to get an idea of what a business career might be like. "It helps to set off your career," she said.

While the students admitted to being nervous before the competition, they said the nerves faded away. "Once you go in there it's fine," said McGregor.

The students said they had been motivated by their DECA experiences and planned to work even harder at it next year.