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LN DECA Students Advance Through Competitions

deca career dayLoy Norrix High School students had the opportunity to meet with about a dozen professionals from the Kalamazoo community at the “I Have a Dream” Career Expo Day organized by 10th grade students Aliah Ward and Nateya Thomas. 

The two students created the event as part of their DECA hospitality project. DECA is a career and technical education competition in which students explore career education through a variety of hands-on experiences. 

Ward and Thomas used the career expo to develop experience in event planning. The sophomores contacted community speakers, arranged a pizza lunch, organized raffles and created the advertising to market their event. 

The event not only exposed other students to career opportunities in Kalamazoo, but was a chance to celebrate black excellence on MLK Day, Thomas and Ward said. 

The expo will form the basis of the presentation and report they will create for the state DECA competition. 

Loy Norrix business teacher and DECA advisor Atiba Ward took the Norrix team to the regional DECA competition in January, where the group won 42 medals in five cluster areas: business management and administration, hospitality and tourism, marketing, entrepreneurship, and finance. Within those themes, there are 38 different categories of competition, which can include individual and team events and requirements such as role playing, tests, written presentations and oral projects. 

This year’s team members who competed in districts were: Caleb Jackson, Chanel Wilson, Javon Harris, Arturo Pinto, Sequoya Morning, Nateya Thomas Anna Miedema, Trevor Watts, Aliah Ward, Wendy Miedema, Gavin Gardner, Jackson Bergan, Naedia Abbott, Amady Mboup, Max Belin, Ari Johnson, Jaquan Jennings, Tamisha Smith and Meilie Diaz Ocampo. 

deca career dayThe students were scheduled to compete March 10 at the state event. Winners from that event will compete in the International Career Development Conference in Atlanta in April. The event is expected to draw more than 20,000 students. Arturo Pinto, who won the DECA regional competition in sports management automatically qualified for nationals. 


Loy Norrix High School students took home several awards at the Michigan DECA state conference held in Detroit, March 10-12. DECA is a career education program that helps students develop skills in four business areas: management, marketing, finance, and hospitality. Twenty-four Norrix students qualified for states after winning at the district level. 

Chanel Wilson and Wendy Miedema earned a gold  School Based Enterprise Award for reopening a pop-up school store and writing a 20-page paper about the experience. They also presented a report on the human resources aspect of the project.

Aliah Ward and Nateya Thomas earned medals and the DECA Glass Award for Career Awareness for hosting the I Have a Dream Career Expo at Norrix. More than 100 people attended the event at which local business owners met with students to share their work experiences. Alliah and Nateya wrote a paper and gave an oral presentation on the project. 

Arturo Pinto competed in the Virtual Business Sports competition. He placed third in the Central Region, which covers Michigan, Indiana, Minnesota, Ohio, Wisconsin and Iowa. 

Javon Harris earned a medal for a high test score and a medal for the best role play in his group event: Principles of Business Finance. 

Chanel, Wendy, Aliah, Nateya, and Arturo will advance to DECA’s  International Career Development Conference in Atlanta in April. 

Loy Norrix has been a part of DECA for 38 years. The program helps students gain “a deeper understanding of networking, professionalism, and business content as a result of the experience,” said Norrix business teacher Atiba Ward, who is the DECA advisor.