It’s been a good year for Lauren Calvert.
The senior at South Forsyth High School is about to complete her one-year term as the Georgia president of DECA, a marketing club that teaches students a range of business skills.
The organization is popular in Forsyth County, with all five public high schools having active DECA chapters.
South Forsyth has the world’s largest DECA chapter, with more than 800 members. It’s held that title every year since 2009.
Calvert, who also served as vice president for one year prior to her stint as president, said working in the top role was an honor.
“It was definitely an amazing experience,” she said. “If I could, I would do it all over again.
“Not only did I gain valuable leadership experience from the different trainings and meetings we had at the state level, but going and visiting different chapters … really gave me a lot of leadership experience. I really enjoyed that and getting to network and meet other members.”
Calvert said she was also proud of the community service project she lead during her term, which will end Saturday when a new state president is elected during the organization’s state conference in Atlanta.
She said her term’s philanthropy focused on raising money for Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.
“That was a really special organization to work with because not only do we have an office of theirs at The Avenue Forsyth, but I’ve known plenty of students who have been treated at Children’s, so it was a really great feeling being able to serve and give back to them,” she said.
Calvert participated in a number of fundraisers for the organization throughout the year, such as golf tournaments and community awareness events. She also led a campaign to encourage all Georgia DECA chapters to raise money for the organization.
Shannon Aaron, Georgia DECA state adviser, praised Calvert as being a strong president for the organization.
“She’s been a great leader for us, and being from the world’s largest DECA chapter definitely helps,” Aaron said. “She always has a real good attitude and is very positive.”
Aaron also praised Calvert’s public speaking abilities, which she noted were a great asset.
“She’s just a really great speaker and she motivates students and just really gets them excited about DECA,” she said. “She puts a lot of heart into all that she does and she led our officer team well.”
Calvert said she’s had a love for DECA since her older sister, Christine, encouraged her to join the organization her freshman year at South.
“My sister was the one who pushed me not only to get into DECA, but also into getting into leadership positions,” Calvert said. “She had been a co-president at our high school and she thought I would make a really good leader, not only in the school but at the state level, so she was really the one that pushed me to do it.”
Calvert said she would encourage any student who might be unsure about joining DECA to go ahead and get involved.
“[It’s] not just because of the valuable marketing and business experience you get, but from the leadership experience and the networking you get when you go to different conferences and meet members from all over the nation that are interested in the same things you are,” she said.
“You learn so much about business and things like appropriate dress when you go for an interview, so many things that are applicable to any occupation.”
Calvert hopes to attend the University of Georgia this fall, but won’t know if she’s been admitted until April. She said she’s been accepted to Georgia College & State University in Milledgeville, which she may attend.
Calvert plans to study agriculture or communications with a focus on marketing.
Experiences with DECA, she said, should serve her well in college and beyond.
“The skills I’ve gained, I will definitely take with me for the rest of my life,” she said. “I gained not only leadership skills, but public speaking and time management skills and … balancing a busy schedule.”