By Jill Fox
A popular event where thousands of high school students, teachers, and advisors come together is the latest in the growing list of cancellations due to Coronavirus.
Over 200 DECA (Distributive Education Clubs of America) members at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School recently participated in the Annual Florida DECA Career Development Conference, the largest number to make it to the state level in 15 years.
The school sent five buses full of students to the State competition in Orlando, where the top students in the district moved on to participate in a variety of competitions, including entrepreneurship, business law, and ethics, business and marketing plans, finance, and hospitality.
The top six students in each category were recognized with awards and became eligible to compete in the International Career Development Conference in April in Nashville. Around 65 MSD students and alternates were planning to attend; however, the district suspended all travel, including academic, athletic, and extracurricular trips.
It wouldn’t have mattered if they were able to travel, because, on Friday, the International Career Development Conference announced it was officially canceled publishing a statement which said: “Due to the magnitude of the conferences, the uncertainty surrounding this pandemic and the fact that many school districts, colleges, and universities have closed for the indefinite future, this year’s high school and collegiate ICDCs will not be rescheduled.”
MSD DECA Advisor Sharon Cutler said, “I feel bad for the kids who worked hard to get a spot and aren’t able to compete. For them, this is something they’ve been looking forward to all year.”
Cutler, an Academy of Finance teacher at MSD, said she chose this career to do something more meaningful than her previous one in accounting.
“It’s the toughest job I’ve ever had, but absolutely the most rewarding,” she said, “Our kids come out of DECA prepared not just for college, but life.”
For the past 15 years, she has been advising the MSD DECA program, which is the third-largest chapter in the world. She said she was pleased with the results for their chapter, just really disappointed that the kids won’t get to compete at the next level.
DECA officials said, “We applaud all of our competitors who qualified to attend DECA’s ICDC and offer our sincere apologies.”
- Jill Fox is an Emmy Award-winning writer and producer. She is currently a Senior Account Director at Lon Haber & Co. Fox worked at NBC Miami for eight years after graduating from the University of Miami. She lives in Parkland with her husband, Brian and two children.
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