DECA students take trip to Orlando

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Brian Stockman
Staff Writer

Ridgway Area High School DECA Advisor Kyle Gordon is very proud of the Ridgway students who participated in the recent trip to Orlando, though they did not place in the International Conference, and sent updates throughout the trip to family friends and supporters back home.
"These students have made their school, district, community, chapter, state, and families proud beyond words," Gordon said. "They represent the best that our district has to offer when it comes to student leadership. Behind every strong leader is a strong support group. We have an incredible team of families, community members, and businesses that do whatever it takes to fuel these students' skills and passions. Other schools were amazed that a small town like ours could raise upwards of $12,000 to send students to this conference. Even more so, they were amazed that we were able to qualify students for the conference in the first place."
The DECA program has only been in place at RHS for three years and this is the first time the team qualified for the International Conference, joining only 10 percent of other DECA programs to advance to this next level. 
"It is amazing the number of people that are here and not only the number of states, but the number of countries represented. On Saturday, the students were treated to the keynote speaker – Ben Nemtin, producer and star of the show 'Buried Life.' In his show, he and his friends have a list of 100 'bucket list' items that they want to complete. For every goal they complete, they help another person achieve one of their own dreams," said Gordon.
"We need to think of our dreams more like projects," "Every project starts by writing it down," and "Above everything else, we need to give and invest in others," were Gordon's favorite quotes from Nemtin's speech. 
Several students from St. Marys Area High School also attended the conference and the students and advisors interacted over the trip.
"SMAHS DECA Advisor Michelle Jackson and I sat in several workshops on Sunday and Monday to learn about incorporating entrepreneurial project-based learning in the classroom. It's amazing because it seems that both of us represent one of the few schools here where DECA is not directly tied to a class. There are some schools here where every category has its own individual class for an elective. For our students, I think their knowledge and skill results from a collective effort of parents, community members, employers, and their various courses at RHS," said Gordon. "Yet another reason to be 'Ridgway Proud.'"

For more on this story, see today's publication of the Ridgway Record. (Friday, May 3, 2019.)