DECA - Mackenzie Brown
Hello. I am Mackenzie Brown and I am a senior in the Culinary Arts program at the Hartford Area Career and Technology Center. In this class, we do not just learn about how to cook, we learn things that we can use in our everyday life. We also learn teamwork and people skills and most important, we learn leadership skills through our culinary management competition called DECA.
DECA, previously known as Distributive Education Clubs of America, is an organization for high schoolers, college students, and teachers who are interested in marketing, management, and entrepreneurship. DECA is not only for culinary students but also for business, finance, and marketing sales students. The first conference you compete in is the state conference. For Vermont students, you compete in Burlington, Vermont. This year, we stayed two days and one night and competed in two different competitions, Quick Serve and Restaurant Management. Each competition consists of two role plays and a 100 question test. For role plays, you have time to study a certain scenario then must present to judges. For example, you are the owner of a chain of restaurants and you want to expand and go international. It is your job to present these ideas of going international to the judges. The judges have questions about the scenario you must answer as well as providing them with your ideas.
The conference also has workshops and fun things for the students to do after you are done competing. At the end of the conference, they have an awards ceremony where you can win 1st, 2nd, and 3rd places in your two role plays, the test, and overall. This year, I won 1st place in both my role plays, 2nd place in my test, and 1st overall in Quick Serve Management. When you win 1st overall, the HACTC pays for your plane ticket and hotel room to go to the National Conference. The National Conference is in Anaheim, California this year.
DECA is a great organization for leadership. It builds up your confidence when talking to people and makes it easier to talk with future employers. It really helped me in other classes and at work.