Local students prepare for international DECA competition | Education

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St. Joseph students will have the opportunity to showcase their business skills on an international stage later this month at a competitive event in Atlanta.

After completing the Missouri State DECA Career Development Conference in Kansas City last month, St. Joseph School District students head to the DECA International Competition in late April.

Among them will be Ella Habiger, a sophomore at Central High School. At the state conference, Habiger and his partner participated in a business ethics role-playing event and came in third place.

“And we will compete again to see if we can win a bigger title than what we already have,” Habiger said.

Habiger is one of about ten students from the district who will participate in the international event. Melissa Richie, a business professor at Central, said DECA, also known as the Distributive Education Clubs of America, is a huge organization at St. Joseph, with 100 students at Central alone involved.

Referring to Habiger, Richie said she was an excellent speaker.

“(Habiger) communicates well. She gets along well with her peers,” Richie said. “I didn’t have her in class, but I had a few conversations with her trying to prepare for DECA, and I just knew she would be a great role-playing person given the business scenario and that she would be able to articulate the role-playing situation to a judge in the right way.

Habiger said she feels confident about the upcoming competition and attributes much of her success to the skills she has learned in speaking and debating. She will also participate in the National Speech & Debate Tournament 2022 in June in Louisville, Kentucky.

Habiger is also involved in the FBLA (Future Business Leaders of America), Central High School government, tennis, soccer and more.

“I’m not going to say it’s easy (to do all of this), it definitely isn’t,” Habiger said. “It’s a lot of long weekends and sacrifices, a lot of late nights. And it may be heavy, but I have big dreams and I know what I need to do to achieve them, and it takes a lot of hard work and dedication.

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