Tonawanda News — The posters in teacher Laurie Widman’s room at North Tonawanda High School bear words to live by: “Your mind is your most powerful resource,” “For success, attitude is as important as ability” and “Knowledge is power.”
For members of the school’s DECA club, those words — and the principles behind them — may also be a ticket to California this year.
Fourteen members of the DECA club for business and marketing students at the school recently returned from the the 53rd annual State Career Conference in Rochester with a collective 16 medals and nine trophies — and six students moving on to the International Career Development Conference in April in Anaheim, Calif., where they will compete with others from around the world.
Widman, who has served as adviser to the club for seven years, said only about 200 participants from the state competition move on to the international one. About 1,800 students took part in about 60 events at the New York conference, while about 15,000 will participate in the Anaheim convention.
DECA students take part in events including public speaking, interviews, tests, business role playing, giving presentations and presenting manuals they’ve put together on various business and marketing issues. The events are judged by business people from the community.
“There’s so much growth you see in the kids. It’s amazing to see them mature,” said Widman, who recalled shy students who visibly conquered that shyness preparing for and taking part in DECA competitions. “I love it. It’s just a great program. You see them get more confident.”
Even for those not moving on to the international contest, the public speaking, networking and other DECA-related experiences are invaluable, she said.
“They get to see so much,” Widman said. “Sometimes they get so involved with their own school and community. They don’t realize what opportunities are out there. The world’s turning, every day.”