West Potomac Takes State DECA Title and Heads for Nationals
- Student: Joanna Morgan and Zachary Cohen
- School: West Potomac High School
- Class/grade: High School
- Award: Two medals
Submitted by Robert Wise
Joanna Morgan and Zachary Cohen did not know very much about DECA (Distributive Education Clubs of America). In fact, they had never heard of it until taking a marketing class.
They joined the club because their marketing teacher had suggested it. Before Robert Wise, the marketing teacher, arrived a few years ago,West Potomac High School had not had a DECA program for many years.
Wise revived the club and encouraged his marketing students to join. After competing in districts and winning first place in their respective categories, Joanna and Zack suddenly had a new interest in DECA.
When Wise informed Joanna and Zachary that they were invited to compete at the Virginia DECA State Conference in Norfolk, Va., they were unsure of what to expect. Most of the other schools in Fairfax County brought around 40 students with them, and some even brought 180 students, while West Potomac had brought only two students.
To their shock, students at the conference had been studying for weeks on end in preparation for states. Other schools had provided their students with flash cards, packets and practice role plays. Winning was definitely the last thing on Joanna and Zachary’s minds.
At the conclusion of the state conference, Joanna and Zachary attended the awards ceremony. As they sat in the crowd, they were surprised to hear both their names called on stage. Both Joanna and Zachary had won two medals, placing in the top ten in two of their three events. They were elated at the astonishing wins.
While they may have won two medals, they certainly did not think that they had qualified for the International Career Development Conference (ICDC) in Salt Lake City, Utah. However, the next night at the grand awards ceremony, they heard their names called on stage once again.
Zachary was completely astounded when they announced he had won first place in Restaurant and Food Management. Before long, Joanna was called up on stage too and they announced she was runner up in Hotel and Lodging Management. Both of them were headed to ICDC!
This would be the first time that West Potomac would be represented at ICDC. In fact, no one had seen much of West Potomac at any DECA event in the many years before Wise’s arrival. He put little pressure on his students. He only told them to do their best and to learn things for next year.
Joanna and Zachary did their best and now they are on their way to Salt Lake City. Although the event is very expensive, hopefully with some donations they will be able to fund the trip and win at nationals.