Rockford DECA students approved for national conference

The Rockford Area School Board gave their blessing to the three students who qualified for the DECA National Conference in Anaheim, California.

DECA, an acronym that elongates to Distributive Education Clubs of America, is a business club for high schools and college-aged students. Members choose team and individual projects, and with the aid of an advisor prepare for competition. Their projects are reviewed by a panel of judges who make recommendations for the state and national competitions. This year, the DECA National Conference is being held at the Anaheim Convention Center April 25-29.

So far, students Mikayla Odette, Brianna Westrup, Jessie Johnson have been invited to nationals for their work on Rocketc., a team apparel store located within Rockford High School. Rocketc. was among 360 school-based enterprises in the United States achieving Gold Level Certification (or Gold Level Re-certification) this year and will be recognized at DECA’s International Career Development Conference in Anaheim, California.

Depending on the results of the State Competition which took place this week, it was estimated that another one to two students would make the cut to attend.

Of course, the invitation comes with a price tag. Four nights at a hotel, round trip flights, conference registration, and meals would bring the ticket to a total of around $4,700. Advisor Deidra VanLith noted that a portion of the cost will be covered by the DECA Activity budget, but the students will need to pay the larger portion.

The School Board plans to cover a portion that cannot be covered by the DECA budget or raised by the students.

Board member Ted Botten also offered $500 from his company, and invited other members of the board and public to make a personal contribution if they could. “I think this [trip] is very important,” said Botten.


The board also heard a public comment from Corcoran City Administrator Brad Martens in regards to the expired lease to use the district-owned lands. The lease had given the City of Corcoran use of the property in exchange for maintenance. The district had invited Corcoran to potentially renegotiate a new agreement for this year.

Martens conveyed a willingness to renegotiate a similar lease, but board discussion towards the end of the meeting was hesitant.

“In a deficit, we need to terminate and make consistent what we need to,” said Superintendent Paul Durand. The board considered exploring new options with the land.

The lack of control when it comes to maintenance also was mentioned by Durand, but was not a factor. “They’ve [the City of Corcoran] been good stewards of our land,” said board member Botten.

The board agreed to have Superintendent Durand and School Board Chair Chuck Tryon go forward with their negotiations.

On Friday, March 24, a lease was renegotiated in which Corcoran would continue maintenance and pay $5,000 to use the fields on the land.

In other news, the board:

APPROVED the Rockford High School 11-day trip to Spain in the summer of 2018.

THANKED Galaxy workers and maintenance staff for their handling of students under the severe weather protocol after receiving knowledge of the recent tornado watch.

EXCUSED Rockford High School students from school Wednesday, April 19 for ACT Testing Day.

AGREED to shelf the Vice Chair vote until a better consensus is reached. The Board had been voting twice per meeting for the last three months with identical, stalemate results.