Washington DECA Students Place First in International Competition

 Salt Lake City, Utah. – Connor Brashear and Austin Bush became the first students from Washington DECA to place 1st at the international career development conference.  Washington has had several 3rd place finishers and event finalists, but never a first overall winner.  They were one of fifteen teams left after the initial round narrowed the competition down from 100 teams.

“Connor and I are very proud to be the first international winners in any event from Washington High School and to represent the city of Washington,” said Bush.  Twenty –five teams from each of the four geographic regions qualify for ICDC by managing a stock portfolio during the 1st semester of the school year.  The top 25 teams qualified based on their overall portfolio value as compared to the S&P 500 index.  Brashear and Bush had to present their stock portfolio, selling the judges on the fundamentals of their selections and how they created a diversified portfolio. Bush commented that “Connor and I were able to perform well not only from hard work but the experience we have gotten from our own investments.  Terminology was very important and we were able to prove we understood this by talking about investment terms such as BETA, PE, PEG, EPS and Return on Equity.” The presentation lasted 10 minutes followed by the judges asking questions testing the student’s knowledge of stock market terminology.  Bush went on to say, “It has been a goal of mine to win the international competition although we knew it wouldn’t come easy.  Together, Connor and I spent many hours researching, putting together, and continually changing our presentation until we felt it portrayed what we wanted to explain and accomplish.  After qualifying for the top 15, I knew in my mind it was our time to go for it and contend to win because of all our time and efforts it took to get there.”

According the Brashear “The stock market follows the exact same guiding principles as life itself, and can be seen as symbolic for life’s lessons; if you work hard, show diligence and dedication, and hold on with patience, then everything begins to turn positive.” Both boys commented on the loss of loved ones this past year.  Brashear said, “It’s been a rough few months with the loss of two of our greatest friends,  Derek and Zach, but with their help, we were able to follow these guiding principles and do great things.”  Bush said, “I would like to dedicate this honor to Sarah Eaton (grandmother), Zach Blubaum and Derek Arvin.  They have been an inspiration to me.”  Both Brashear and Bush went on the say, ”We would like to thank both Sarah Browning and Eric Bassler.  They listened to our presentation and their input helped us in improving our presentation.”

DECA hosted its 66th annual International Career Development Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah, April 28-May 2, 2012.  The ICDC is DECA’s highest level of competition and encompasses career-focused competitions in finance, hospitality and tourism, marketing, management and entrepreneurship.  Drawing more than 15,000 DECA students, advisors, alumni and affiliated businesspeople from all 50 states and around the world, the 5-day conference will pump an estimated $14 million in the Salt Lake City-area economy.

During the school year, approximately 120,000 of DECA’s 200,000 student members take part in the organization’s Competitive Events Program, where they vie with one another at local and state competitions.  The events include real-life business scenarios and project presentations that are designed to test students’ academic understanding and skills development, as well as DECA’s overall program strength.  The top state/provincial winners put their talents to the test during the program’s final round of competition in Salt Lake City.

Also participating at ICDC but not advancing to the finals were:  the team of Abby McCormick, Mikala Barber and Madi Heacock in the Community Service Project; Anna Schilling, Stevee Craney and Cortni King in the Learn and Earn Project;  Kyla Miles and Drew Brothers in the  Public Relations Project; Maddie Forte and Kelsey Conolty in the Financial Literacy Promotion Project; Heath Goodwin in the Entrepreneurship Written Event; Blake Harner, Tiffany Ervin and Jake Brashear attended leadership workshops.

The sixteen students also made side trips to Park City, the great Salt Lake and Snowbird Ski Resort.  Next years ICDC will be held in Anaheim, California.

Brashear wrapped up his thoughts by saying, “ICDC in Orlando last year was great being an International finalist.  Salt Lake City was obviously even better winning first place.  All I can say is . . . Bring on Anaheim.”  Brashear was also elected Indiana DECA’s state president at the state conference in March.  For the next year, he will lead the 12 member Indiana DECA state officer team and the entire Indiana DECA association.  Additional Washington DECA members that were elected to serve on next year’s state officer team include Anna Schilling, Vice-President of Communications and Blake Harner, District 10 President.