FORSYTH COUNTY -- Forsyth County’s high schools continue to dominate membership totals for DECA clubs across the globe.
South Forsyth, West Forsyth and Lambert high schools take up three of the top five spots for having the largest chapter memberships in the world.
But in addition to membership, the students also performed well during the recent DECA International Career Development Conference.
West DECA Adviser David Rooney said “as a county, once again Forsyth County led the state in representing and having many students place in the top 10 in the nation.”
“West had one of their best years ever,” he said. “West DECA became industry certified, as well as placing second in the nation in a school-based enterprise video contest for having one of the best school stores, the West Express.”
West placed second in two events — virtual business restaurant, led by Chris O’Connor and Christian Loughran and virtual business sports, led by Colin Lengle and Mackenzie Baker.
Rooney said he and the other DECA advisers are “very proud of what our students have accomplished this year.”
“These students keep raising the bar for next groups to follow,” he said.
The bar was already set high for South Forsyth High School, which has the largest DECA chapter in the world, with more than 1,100 members. During this year’s event, the chapter’s efforts yielded two international champions and 12 finalists in eight events.
Amanda Guglielmo and Madison Light earned first place for promotion plan and financial literacy. Ashita Sehgal and Sanjay Velappan earned third place for the entrepreneurship innovation challenge and seven other students finished in the top 10 for their categories.
“When South Forsyth marketing students are recognized for their knowledge and skills in the DECA competitions or when organizations actually take real risks to implement the students’ ideas with real money and real customers, I feel a tremendous sense of accomplishment and pride,” said Seth Hutchinson, adviser for South DECA.
North Forsyth and Forsyth Central high schools also had students compete in the event.
During last year’s competition, only one student moved on from Lambert High School. but DECA Adviser Amanda Mathis said this year, three students made it all the way to the finals.
“We are continuing to do better each year,” she said.
In addition to one top-10 and two top-20 finishes, two Lambert students earned $1,000 scholarships. Noelle Petty received the Sonya Dismuke Memorial Foundation Scholarship and Regan Huffman received the Otis Spunkmeyer Scholarship.
“I am extremely proud,” Mathis said. “It’s a huge accomplishment, because first of all, you’re on stage in front of 17,000 peers from across the world and they put a lot of time and energy into preparing.
“All of their hard work paid off ... and it’s a really cool feeling.”