DECA DECA · State DECA Conference Recognizes Mound Westonka Students, Advisor


Mound Westonka High School had 120 students participate in the 2019 Minnesota DECA State Career Development Conference, which was held March 3-5 in Minneapolis. Continuing a long tradition of excellence for the Westonka DECA program, 19 students are headed to Orlando next month to compete at DECA Internationals.

Approximately 3,500 Minnesota DECA student members take part in the organization’s competitive events program during the school year, allowing them to compete in over 50 events focused on the areas of entrepreneurship, finance, hospitality, marketing and related fields. The competitions are designed to simulate real-life business scenarios and test students’ academic understanding and skills development. After qualifying at district competitions earlier this year, students put their talents to the test during the state competition.

Westonka DECA was entered in 42 of the 53 events run at the state level. The top 12 students advanced to the final round in each DECA category. Westonka advanced 51 students or groups to the finals.

The following MWHS students will compete with 20,000 top students from around the world at the 2019 International Career Development Conference – the pinnacle of DECA competition:

Creative Marketing Chapter Project – sophomore Katie Clarke, junior Grace Hanson and senior Lauren Lachenmayer (3rd place at state)
Public Relations Chapter Project – senior Grace Elling, junior Chloe Kantola and senior Asha Martel (3rd place at state)
Finance Operations Research Project – juniors Melissa Drill, Emily Moore and Samantha Otto (4th place at state)
Quick Serve Restaurant Individual Role Play – senior JP Oftedahl (5th place at state) and junior Maria Morande (6th place at state)
Principles of Marketing Individual Role Play – senior Sam Dufault (4th place at state)
Business Services Marketing Individual Role Play – junior Amelia Proulx (4th place at state) and sophomore Avery Finck (8th place at state)
Retail Merchandising Individual Role Play – ninth-grader Anna Reier (3rd place at state)
Restaurant and Food Service Individual Role Play – sophomore Avery Robbins (3rd place at state)
Sports and Entertainment Marketing Role Play – sophomore Jacob Heins (9th place at state)
Travel & Tourism Team Role Play – juniors Olivia Martel and Ari Zahasky (4th place at state)

The 2019 International Career Development Conference will be held April 26-May 1 in Orlando. Westonka DECA will be fundraising to help cover travel costs. Watch for more information about fundraising opportunities in Westonka News.

View more photos of the state DECA competition

Robinson Earns Rookie of the Year Award

Westonka DECA is advised by Sue Simonson, Toby Robinson and Julie Thomas. In addition to the student success at the state conference, Robinson was named 2019 Minnesota Rookie Marketing Teacher of the Year, an award presented to exceptional marketing teachers with five years of experience or less.

Simonson wrote in her nomination: “In my many years of teaching and industry work, I have never encountered a more passionate, hardworking leader than Toby Robinson. First and foremost, he truly has a passion for the well-being and growth of his students. He cares deeply about them and offers the wisdom and support acquired through his teaching and professional experiences.”

“While he has only been a marketing teacher for four years, [Robinson] embodies the passion and commitment to the profession that can rival any veteran marketing teacher,” Simonson added. “Students flock to him, parents adore him, and other teachers want to be him.”

One of Robinson’s students at MWHS offered a description of the beloved marketing teacher: “Mr. Robinson, the teacher everyone begs to write their letter of recommendation for college, the teacher everyone nominates to speak on graduation day, the teacher everyone wants to practice their projects with, or review a paper. The teacher that is always there for his students, even if that means staying until 6 p.m. on a Friday. Mr. Robinson is beyond a teacher to students, he is an inspiration, a motivator, a mentor, an understanding amazing person that students are ever so lucky to call a teacher.”