Crenshaw County DECA bound for Anaheim

Published 2:53 am Tuesday, May 28, 2024

By Haley Mitchell Godwin

Seven students from Crenshaw County Career Academy’s DECA chapter, formerly known as Distributive Education Clubs of America, showcased their skills at the DECA State Career Development Conference (SCDC) held in Birmingham from Feb. 21 – 22. The highly competitive event drew over 900 participants from across the state, providing a platform for intense competition and leadership opportunities and resulting in three Crenshaw County students earning coveted spots at the DECA International Career Development Conference (ICDC) slated for April in Anaheim, California.

Highland Home High School (HHS) senior Avery Williams claimed fourth place in Personal Financial Literacy. Meanwhile, HHS senior Madeline Jane Crowe secured second place in the Community Giving Project competition and Brantley High School senior Kendal Nichols clinched a first-place win with her entry into the Business Solutions Project. These three students will be attending nationals in April. 

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Also shining in the DECA state competitions were HHS senior Austin McCardle who competed in the human resources management test and role play event, sophomores Astrid Acosta Ajactle and Paige Daniel along with junior Sandra Hall who gave a presentation on their DECA Community Awareness Project. Ajactle, Daniel and Hall placed fifth overall, barely missing a national qualifying win. 

In addition to individual triumphs, the DECA chapter was recognized for their collaborative accomplishments and received the following designations:

State Action Project – Diamond Level (highest level), Promotional Campaign (National) – Thrive (highest level) and Community Service Campaign (National) – Thrive (highest level).

Avery Williams, expressing her excitement, shared that this would be her second trip to DECA nationals, and said she eagerly anticipates the opportunity to represent her school and state in California.

“I am very excited to attend DECA Nationals to represent my DECA chapter and my state at such a large and competitive conference,” Williams said. “I cannot wait for the trip. Kendal, Madeline Jane and I are already planning outfits and places we have to visit before we leave.”

In preparation for nationals, Williams is using resources provided by DECA to take practice tests that cover the individual aspects of financial literacy, such as types of insurance and loans, wage calculations and taxes, and even financial and credit laws. She is also using previous roleplay examples to expand her knowledge on several roleplay topics that may be brought up during national competition, including investing and employee and employer rights. Williams also practices roleplaying with her mother who has helped her tremendously throughout this journey.

The competitions at DECA events are meticulously designed to simulate real-life business scenarios, putting students’ academic understanding and skills development to the test. 

DECA adviser Cody Nichols commended the students for their outstanding achievements and highlighted the significance of their success.

Overall, our students did a fantastic job representing Crenshaw County schools at Alabama DECA,” Nichols said. “This will be our third trip to nationals and while there we will receive a pennant, flag and plaque for our Thrive level achievements.  I can’t wait to see the continued success of our students on the national stage.”

DECA,, is an international organization dedicated to preparing high school and college students for careers in marketing, finance, hospitality and management. For more information visit