Students Learn Valuable Lessons At DECA Conference

By Iram Arce and Daniel Cantu

On Sunday, March 1, six Pueblo Students attended the DECA [Distributive Education Careers of America] Conference at the Phoenix Convention Center, competing in events among 2,000 other students from all around the state.

Also known as CTSO [Career Technical Student Organization], DECA is part of marketing—giving students an opportunity to learn business skills and compete with others in various activities.

Mr. Pete Pederson, Pueblo’s digital printing (and yearbook) instructor, was a judge for one of the DECA contests that involved students having to apply for an entrepreneurial business proposal. Pederson said that Pueblo students did not compete in this event.

“All contests were scenario-based,” Pederson said. “Students had to play their part and exemplify business etiquette and business savviness.”

Mina Van Gorder, President of the DECA chapter at Pueblo, attended the competition for the second time—this year with more experience and preparation.

“Last year, I had no idea what I was doing,” Van Gorder said. “Now I had more experience on what to expect from the competitions.”

Junior Daniella Contreras admitted that she was really nervous in front of people during the competition, but was able to confront her fears and succeed.

“I was about to have a breakdown, but luckily Mina [Van Gorder] was there to help me out,” Contreras said.

After the competitions students enjoyed the award ceremony—and this is when our Warriors found out that they would not advance to the next round.

“Although we didn’t win, we met lots of new people and gained much more experience on how to talk professionally, making us effective leaders,” Contreras said. “Learning how to be an effective leader is important—not just at school but in ‘real’ life.”

The advisor/sponsor for DECA, Dr. Maria Bicknell, explained that students were very successful raising money for this trip through numerous events and student participation.

Bicknell said, “I’ve been to many of these conferences, and I never get tired of them. I have a never-ending passion to help our students grow and to learn to be leaders as well as critical thinkers. I really want them to succeed in life.”

Recent Pueblo Alumni at Work

Sabrina Avitia- Castillo Associates

Sabrina Avitia, Pueblo Alum of the Class of 2011, is Assistant Office Manager, at Castillo Associates, specializing in health and life insurance. Daniel Castillo, President of Castillo Associates, is so impressed with Sabrina’s skills and work ethic, he wants to hire another Pueblo Alum for his expanding business.

Ms. Avitia credits her CTE Tech Apps/Business with her mastery of typing, composing business letters and organization of Excel Spreadsheets. She also says her job shadowing and internship at St. Mary’s Hospital were meaningful opportunities that taught her to interact with the public, skills she uses in her current job.

Jose Santay- Jim Click Nissan

Jose Santay, the poster child for hard work, won the prestigious Jim Click Automotive Scholarship in May 2012. He is now working in the service department of Jim Click Nissan on Automall Drive. As the Scholarship winner, Jose receives $4,000 in free tools and his education is paid for courtesy of Jim Click. After Jose completes his Automotive Certification at Pima, he will continue on to complete his Associates Degree and then his Bachelor’s Degree.

Jose’s supervisor, Jason Davis, said that, “Jose has the attitude and the aptitude to succeed.” Jose gets up at 5:00 a.m. to open the shop at 7:00 a.m. Jose credits his Pueblo experience for where he is today. Endless hours working as Manager for the Basketball Team with Coach Romero, and his internship with Spraymasters Autobody, readied him for work at the professional level.

[Thank you Mr. Ostroff]