LPS students shine at state DECA, HOSA conferences

Lincoln Public Schools students recently turned their business and health knowledge into bright results at a pair of state conferences.

Students took part in the Nebraska DECA State Career Development Conference (SCDC) and the Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA) State Leadership Conference. DECA events were held in Lincoln and the HOSA conference took place at Creighton University.

LPS Career and Technical Education Curriculum Specialist Jason Thomsen said students were involved in a full slate of positive activities at both sites. They participated in competitive events and leadership workshops and met fellow DECA and HOSA members from across Nebraska. Many LPS students also won awards for their business and health skills.

“It is always wonderful to see our students not only compete in these types of extracurricular events, but perform well compared to their peers throughout the state,” Thomsen said. “This reflects positively on the hard work and talents of the students, but is also a reflection of the hard work and dedication put into these organizations from the teachers and sponsors.”

Nebraska DECA

DECA is a career and technical organization that helps students prepare for dozens of business-related jobs. Some of the careers include marketing, finance, management, hospitality, entrepreneurship and human resources.

“As students participate in DECA and attend various leadership conferences throughout the year, they develop real-world skills by competing in challenges that simulate real business scenarios, which allow all students to develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills,” Thomsen said.

Southwest High School teacher Allie Thompson said she was happy with the achievements of her students. Thompson guided a group of ten Silver Hawks at the state conference as chapter advisor.

“I’m very proud of our chapter’s performance at SCDC this year,” Thompson said. “Our chapter has dedicated so much time to preparing for these events, and to see them be recognized for their accomplishments is rewarding. We have been a close-knit group this year and I am especially proud of how supportive our chapter is of each other when we compete. It’s fulfilling to see this group represent themselves and their school so well.”

Thomsen said many LPS students have developed career readiness knowledge through DECA. They have learned how to create resumes, prepare for interviews and search for jobs within their future career fields. They have also built networks with business professionals across the state.

Southwest junior Brandon Hansen is one of those career-constructing students. He will be one of three vice presidents of Nebraska DECA for the 2024-25 year.

“Brandon has played an integral role in our chapter’s success this year as our chapter president,” Thompson said. “He’s a passionate, driven leader who exemplifies exactly what it means to be a part of DECA – academically prepared, community oriented and professionally responsible. Some of our chapter’s best moments from this year were a direct result of Brandon’s dedication to our chapter.”

East High School earned a Thrive Level Award in the DECA Chapter Campaign national program. The Spartans were honored for their community service and promotional events during the school year.

East’s chapter, led by business department chair Matt Maw, will receive a pennant, flag and plaque for reaching Thrive Level status. The Spartans will also be able to send two members to the Thrive Academy at this year’s DECA International Career Development Conference (ICDC).

“We were very satisfied with our chapter’s success at State DECA and were able to meet both individual and chapter goals,” Maw said. “DECA has allowed students to apply the content learned in business classes to real-world scenarios through competition. In addition, students benefited from the networking opportunities and leadership opportunities.”

Students who placed in the top three spots of their competitive events will continue their seasons later this spring. The ICDC will happen April 27-May 1 in Anaheim, Calif.

The following LPS students earned state medals:

Human Resources Management: Aadhav Krishna – East – Junior – Second Place Overall, Third Place Role Play 1
Principles of Finance: Konnor Garrett – East – Freshman – First Place Exam, Top Eight Overall
Principles of Marketing: Rikhil Jasti – East – Sophomore – First Place Role Play 2, Top Eight Overall
Quick Serve Restaurant: Sandarika Warjri – Southwest – Junior – Second Place Overall
Retail Merchandising Series: Jake Schuller – East – Junior – First Place Overall, First Place Exam, First Place Role Play 2
Sports and Entertainment Marketing: Spencer Krenk – Southwest – Junior – Second Place Overall
Sports and Entertainment Marketing: Alex Shaeffer – Southwest – Sophomore – Third Place Overall

Nebraska HOSA

HOSA teaches lessons about a wide range of health-related careers. The state conference featured more than 30 competitive events in subjects ranging from behavioral health to pathophysiology.

Students earned recognition for placing in the top five spots of their competitive events. Students who finished first, second or third automatically qualified for the HOSA International Leadership Conference (ILC). The ILC will happen June 26-29 in Houston, Texas.

Four LPS students played key roles at the conference. Southeast High School senior Kenna Morgan, Lincoln High junior Lina Dvorak and East High School seniors Callie Dreibelbis and Juliet Schoemaker are serving on the HOSA State Officer Team this year. Morgan is state secretary, Dvorak is state vice president of competitive events, Dreibelbis is state vice president of membership and Schoemaker is state vice president of media.

The following LPS students finished in the top five places at state:

Behavioral Health: Lina Dvorak – Lincoln High – First Place – Junior
Creative Problem Solving: Garrett Amundsen (Junior) and Alyssa Beetem (Junior) – Southeast – Fifth Place
Dental Science: Brice Neale – The Career Academy – Fourth Place – Senior
Emergency Medical Technician: Ryan Dao (Senior) and Mikyah Venhaus (Senior) – The Career Academy – Fourth Place
Health Career Photography: Mara Scott – Southeast – Fourth Place – Junior
Health Career Photography: Sophia Timm – The Career Academy – Fifth Place – Junior
Human Growth and Development: Kenna Morgan – Southeast – Second Place – Senior
Medical Reading: Jade Sindelar – The Career Academy – Third Place – Senior
Medical Reading: Emma Cleaver – The Career Academy – Fourth Place – Junior
Mental Health Promotion: Molly Leyden (Junior) and Maleah Ehlers (Junior) – Southeast – First Place
Nursing Assisting: Caitlyn Klems – Southeast – Third Place – Junior
Nutrition: Emma Yin – East – Third Place – Junior

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Published: April 8, 2024, Updated: April 8, 2024

Members of Southwest High School's DECA chapter smile with their state awards. Students from Southwest and East won awards at the business organization's state conference. Students from Southeast, East, Lincoln High and The Career Academy earned honors at the Health Occupations Students of America State Leadership Conference. Four LPS students served on the HOSA State Officer Team this year.