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DECA students place in top 10 at international conference

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International Career Development Conference top winners include Gahanna students (from left) Sam Shovlin, Max McMunn, Kyle Clark, Anne Devaney, Carolyn Armstrong, Kailyn McComb, Ethan Fernandes, Audrey Kusovski and Alex Ankrim.

Gahanna Lincoln High School's DECA chapter members recently earned the organization's highest honors at DECA's 68th annual International Career Development Conference in Atlanta.

The DECA International Career Development Conference was the pinnacle of competition where nearly 12,000 students vied for international honors May 3-6.

DECA, which previously was known as the Distributive Education Clubs of America and Delta Epsilon Chi at the college level, is an international association of high school and college students and teachers of marketing, management and entrepreneurship in business, finance, hospitality and marketing sales and service, according to the organization's website: The organization prepares leaders and entrepreneurs for careers and education in marketing, finance, hospitality, management, and other business areas.

"This year's class is ready to blaze new trails at college campuses, and they've left a high bar for next year's DECA chapter," said Kit Lynch, Gahanna marketing instructor.

Gahanna students who received recognition at the international level, including the event, place and partnering business are as follows:

* Kailyn McComb, Ethan Fernandes and Carolyn Armstrong, Sports & Entertainment Marketing Research Project, third place, Columbus Crew.

* Kyle Clark and Anne Devaney, Hospitality Marketing Research Project, Top 10, W.g. Grinders.

* Alex Ankrim and Audrey Kusovski, Finance Marketing Research Project, Top 10, Benchmark Bank.

* Sam Shovlin and Max McMunn, Sports & Entertainment, Marketing Research Project, Top 10, KDB Easton.

* Theresa Ofei and Ericka Wyant, Advertising Campaign Event, Top 10, Peet's Coffee & Tea.

* Chloe Holmes and Jody Ganshienietz, Business Services Research Project, Top 10, Columbus State Community College.

"I'm really proud of how the students performed," Lynch said. "They put in hundreds of hours of work on their projects, and it was great to see so many of them recognized among the nation's best."

During the school year, about 200,000 DECA student members take part in the organization's competitive events program, allowing them to compete for local, regional and state titles.

The competitions are rigorous and require students to complete in-depth marketing research projects that benefit actual businesses in their communities.

The top state and provincial winners put their talents to the test during the program's final round of competition in Atlanta.

In addition to career-based competition, DECA members engaged in leadership academies and networking opportunities with more than 60 internationally recognized businesses during the conference.