Strong Start For Apple Valley’s New DECA Chapter


John Christiansen

Apple Valley DECA chapter at their district competition on January 8th

Henry Dikeman, Features Writer

After watching the fervor unfold over presidential candidate and real estate mogul Donald Trump, you may be looking for ways to emulate his successfulness. But who knew the key to your success may already be at AVHS?

DECA, or Distributive Education Clubs of America, is a marketing and business club in 5,500 high schools around the globe, with a current membership level of over 200,000 students and counting. Since 1946, membership has served as a helpful stepping stone into the world of business for students , including many AVHS alumni.

Students participate in various events, ranging from mock interviews, to marketing-themed roleplay events, to even writing research papers profiling local businesses. The club places an emphasis on business knowledge and professionalism, and the national organization’s stated purpose is “to improve education and career opportunities for students interested in careers in marketing, management and entrepreneurship.”

After four years of inactivity, and with the approval of Principal Steve Degenaar, advisors have brought back the AVHS DECA club. With meetings every Tuesday, DECA members have been working hard for months in preparation for competition. Despite their efforts, the vast majority of students at Apple Valley have yet to hear of the new chapter.

However, it’s no wonder many may not even know what DECA is. After the four-year hiatus, not a single member of the former DECA chapter still attends AVHS, and the new chapter has gone largely unmentioned in announcements. Current members, including junior Ford Friedel, express surprise that the new chapter hasn’t been more publicized at AVHS.

“It’s a shame,” Friedel states. “DECA has received such little attention this year.” Given the success that those in DECA have experienced so far this season, many other members tend to agree.

AVHS business teachers Chris Scanlon and John Christiansen serve as the DECA advisors, helping the 20-plus members who have joined the club in its first year back. Both coaches express satisfaction with the results so far into the year.

“I’m really fired up about how excited students have been for their events,” Christiansen said. “I’m happy with how successful the year has been so far.”

The renewed chapter recently concluded a successful District competition this past Friday, with 10 members qualifying to the State tournament. The State tournament will be held on March 6-8, where hundreds of competitors will gather in hopes of placing high enough to reach DECA nationals, spanning a week in Nashville, Tennessee.

But before these students even start dreaming of the national tournament, they have to remember what will get them there: the hard work and independent spirit that is the cornerstone of the American Dream.

And, in case you’re feeling patriotic, AVHS DECA is always looking for new members. “Tell your friends, get them interested in DECA,” said advisor Chris Scanlon. 

The only requirements for joining are taking a full-year business course, which can be marketing, accounting, personal money management, or any others in the AVHS business program. In addition to making you DECA-eligible, these courses can teach you valuable skills you can use in your everyday life, not to mention they can earn you free college credit.

“It’s a great opportunity to get a real business experience while having fun with your friends,” says Friedel.

Whether you’re an incoming freshman, sophomore, junior, or even senior, there’s room for everyone in the new chapter.

Moreover, with the $300,000 in scholarships offered through DECA, it may even be a smart investment for those planning ways to pay for college.

Find yourself intrigued? Talk to either Mr. Scanlon or Mr. Christiansen if you want more information.
Only time will tell what awaits Apple Valley DECA, though I suspect the path ahead is laced with success.