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Woodburn DECA students win big at state competition

by: LINDSAY KEEFER - DECA students who ranked at state are (back row, from left) Kiana Thompson, Deni Cortez, Michael Te, Lizzy Ellingson, Evelyn Reyes, (front frow, from left) Alma Llamas, Michaela Vallejo, Sofia Seledkov, Kenia Benitez and Liz Cruz.DECA, the only non-athletic club that has students from all four small schools at Woodburn High School, sent 53 students to a state competition, with 10 students receiving awards.

Woodburn’s representation at the 2014 State Career Development Conference in Salem Feb. 23-25 was led by freshman Sofia Seledkov, who qualified for the international competition in Atlanta with her second place finish in the “entrepreneurship growing your own business” event.

“I wrote a 30-page essay about my business of teaching piano lessons,” she said, noting that it’s based on a real business. “This whole process has pushed me to work harder in school. It’s a good experience, especially as a freshman, showing that hard work does pay off.”

The only other individual who placed in the top eight is Liz Cruz for hotel and lodging role play.

“I took a 100 question test and then I had 30 minutes to prepare for a fake promotional event,” Cruz said. “It helps you gain professional skills and how to speak, but it’s a lot of fun too.”

Kiana Thompson, Kenia Benitez and Michaela Vallejo placed in the top eight with their public relations project, a campaign against bullying. In addition to their 30-page report, the trio visited area elementary schools to talk to kids about the consequences of bullying.

“It started in third grade for me, so we targeted third through fifth grade,” Thompson said. “It’s a step-by-step process, meaning if we start at third grade and step up to each grade, we’ll stop bullying altogether. It takes baby steps to get rid of bullying.”

Michael Te and Lizzy Ellingson also placed in the top eight for the “sports and entertainment research operations” project by creating a Brigham Young University store.

“I wish I would have joined DECA earlier... not only because I think we could have placed higher, but to see more growth in professional and communications skills,” said Te, a senior. “It’s what any parent would want for their kid.”

Deni Cortez, Alma Llamas and Evelyn Reyes also placed in the top eight in the same category.

“Three people placed last year and 10 this year, so it’s been a good improvement,” said adviser and teacher Stuart Foster, who added that he’s taking 10 DECA students to New York in April to do a field study.




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