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Clemens HS DECA shines at Internationals

Three Samuel Clemens High School seniors are basking in the glow of earning a Top 20 finish at the International Career Development Conference in Anaheim, California last month, where over 23,000 students from around the United States and the world competed for international honors.


Isabelle Allen, Lauren Gambrel and Hunter Long, joined by 11 classmates and three chaperones in DECA, attended the seminar and attained the high finish in the Innovation Plan event. The competitions are designed to simulate real-life business scenarios and test students’ academic understanding and skills development. DECA is a career and technical student organization that prepares emerging leaders and entrepreneurs who are interested in careers in marketing, finance, hospitality and management.


The trio pitched a food app titled Plum, designed to help individuals with food allergies or restrictions navigate make informed decisions on restaurants and fast food locales that will allow them to have a vast array of choices within the parameters of their diet.


“Having them advance to the Top 20 in their event at this conference just fills us with pride,” said Laura Lauinger, Marketing teacher at Clemens HS and DECA Co-Advisor. “We know the amount of work it takes to reach that point, and they were deserving. We couldn’t be prouder of them.”


Three additional Clemens HS students advanced to internationals with a Start-Up Business Plan: Lissette Cruz Silverio, Jocelynn Cerino and Alesia Johnson.


Meanwhile, praise was effusive for the DECA program at Clemens HS from the students involved in this lifetime experience. “For the past four years, DECA has not just offered me remarkable chances to grow, but has also been my pillar of support through tough times,” said Gambrel.


“DECA has been my second home over the past four years,” said Long. “It has shown me many skills in life, pertaining to high school and college.”


Allen chimed in, “DECA has not only provided me with incredible opportunities, but has been a support system during challenging times.”


All three finalists were unanimous in their respect and gratitude for Ms. Lauinger, DECA Co-Advisor James Pratt, and Jenna Becka, assistant principal at Clemens HS for their mentorship and guidance. 


“They were the best advisors anyone could ask for,” said Long. “Without them DECA would not be what it is at Clemens HS. 


“Thank you for believing in me and guiding me towards success,” said Allen. “You are appreciated more than words can express.”


“I can’t thank you enough,” said Gambrel. “I’ll always be thankful for DECA.”