Pictured, from left: Ajay Kirmeier, Leon Kravchenko and Hayden Dehmer
Mound Westonka High School junior Ajay Kirmeier and sophomores Leon Kravchenko and Hayden Dehmer have qualified for the 2024 DECA International Career and Development Conference (ICDC) after finishing first in the central region in DECA’s Knowledge Matters Virtual Business Challenge in January.
High school DECA members had the chance to participate in eight Virtual Business Tracks this year: VBC Entrepreneurship, VBC Fashion, VBC Restaurant, VBC Hotel, VBC Sports, VBC Personal Finance, VBC Retailing and VBC Accounting. Each track encourages DECA members to test their skills within its particular virtual business environment – individually or as a team of up to three members. Eight other Westonka DECA members qualified for ICDC back in October after their VBC teams placed in the top two in the region.
Kirmeier, Kravchenko and Dehmer competed as a team in the VBC Sports Challenge, which encourages DECA members to test their skills at managing a football franchise. Participants managed concessions, booked events, analyzed players, chose ticket prices, organized staffing needs, coordinated parking logistics, and more. For each round, teams were ranked based on their franchise's total profit after running the simulation for two virtual football seasons.
According to Kirmeier, the 10-day sports challenge “got hectic at times.” “I think the hardest obstacle we faced during our competition was finding the smallest solutions to the largest problems,” Kirmeier said. “For example, changing ticket pricing by even a few dollars meant every other aspect of our challenge would change, and we had to compensate for that.”
For Kirmeier, the “thrill and excitement” of submitting each attempt to the leaderboard and the team’s overall finish made it all worthwhile. “We enjoyed watching as our rank climbed to the top, where in the end it would leave us in first place within our central region - a massive accomplishment for all three of us,” said Kirmeier.
Westonka DECA is sending 169 students to the Minnesota State Career Development Conference March 10-12 with the goal of advancing more competitors to ICDC. The 2024 ICDC will be held in Anaheim, California April 27-30.
DECA prepares emerging leaders and entrepreneurs for careers in marketing, finance, hospitality and management. DECA enhances the preparation for college and careers by providing co-curricular programs that integrate into classroom instruction, apply learning, connect to business and promote competition. The Westonka DECA program is led by advisors Sue Simonson, Alex Wagner, Nelson Krause and Maggie Carlson.