#1StudentNWI: Marquette Catholic High School making a mark with DECA

#1StudentNWI: Marquette Catholic High School making a mark with DECA

Marquette Catholic High School’s first year participating in Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA) was in the 2019-20 school year. DECA is a business-oriented competition between high schools, and five of Marquette’s students, all proficient in business-related classes, participated in the DECA competition. 

Four of those five students qualified for the state competition, State Career Development Conference (SCDC), in Indianapolis this year. 1200 high school students attended the competition, dressed in their best clothes, and competed with their knowledge of business. They underwent a 100-question test in the business category, followed by a business role-play to test their preparation and knowledge of the subject. 

Aidan Bartnicki, a junior at the time, won first place in the accounting competition. Adam Burroughs and Abigail Ryan, who were also juniors that year, took third place together in entrepreneurship. Then sophomores Yasmir Young and Ava Zientarski took fifth and seventh place in entrepreneurship and hotel lodging and management. 

The students, all of whom took financial accounting, macro and micro economics, managerial accounting, integrated Microsoft apps, microcomputers principles of management, and introduction to business, were able to share their knowledge that they worked hard for.

This year, just like every other club and sport due to COVID-19, DECA looked a little bit different. The team grew to seven members. From their virtual meets and practices, all seven students on the team qualified for the state competition. Due to current events and circumstances, the SCDC was adapted to be online instead of in-person in Indianapolis. The students were bummed, but did not let the slight setback stop them. They adjusted and competed virtually from the school in both their meets and the SCDC. 

Senior Aidan Bartnicki earned the first place, blue ribbon at the conference in the section Accounting Application Series: Marketing Concepts. It’s safe to say the whole team still enjoyed the opportunity to participate in the conference despite it being online. 

Although the DECA season has now come to an end, and half of the team is seniors who will be graduating this year, the future of DECA at Marquette looks bright. The DECA team is growing and earning more recognition than anyone could have believed, being that it is only their second year. The Marquette DECA team posts updates and team pictures on their newly-formed Instagram page, @marquette.deca.

Colleen Meyer, Marquette Class of ‘99, is the business teacher at Marquette. She never expected to be teaching in her hometown, but when she saw a position at Marquette open up, she felt it was the welcoming change that she was looking for.

Before coming to work at the school, she was working in market research in Chicago and then changed into teaching middle school math for a few years. Now at Marquette, Meyer teaches mainly dual-enrollment classes including Introduction to Business, Principle of Management, Microcomputers, Integrated Apps, Trading, and previously, Web Design and Coding. Although already heavily involved and tied-up with her career, Meyer wanted to do more.

“I wanted to provide opportunities for students to develop skills that would give them an edge in their future endeavors,” Meyer said.

So she brought DECA to Marquette. In the two years that Marquette has participated in DECA, most, if not all, of the students have placed in the competition. Meyer loves coaching because it gives her the opportunity to give students the chance to use and show their knowledge to the world.

“I really like seeing students use what they are learning in their business classes and getting to know the students outside the classroom,” she said.

Meyer extends an invitation to all students, encouraging them to step outside their comfort zones to work on areas of improvement. 

“If you are wanting to work on communication skills – including public speaking, thinking on your feet, and overall professionalism – then DECA is a great opportunity,” said Meyer.

Adam Burroughs, a senior at Marquette, has been heavily involved in both academics and sports. Aside from being part of Marquette’s University Program and National Honor Society Program, giving tours, and working open houses for the school in his free time, he also participates in soccer, golf and DECA. 

“I love DECA because it feels like it is a good place to show off my skills that I’ve acquired through my years of business classes,” Burroughs said. “It is also very rewarding to go up on stage and get a medal as I feel like it’s something I earned.”

Burroughs believes Meyer is a good coach because she understands them and realizes how important DECA is to them. 

“Her passion for helping us, as well as other people in the competition, really proved that she is a real leader and a good coach,” Burroughs said.

Burroughs’ favorite thing about Marquette is the community. He says that there was not a single person he came across who he did not know or become friends with. His advice to incoming freshmen is to not stress out about making friends as he came into the school knowing no one but is now leaving with life-long friends.

Burroughs will be attending Grand Canyon University in Arizona in the fall to study business administration and work towards earning his master’s degree.