On Tuesday, Jan. 7, the Rolla high school chapter of Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA) locked up many members of the community to raise money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA).


On Tuesday, Jan. 7, the Rolla high school chapter of Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA) locked up many members of the community to raise money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA). The DECA students teamed up with the Rolla Technical Institutes culinary program to provide a comfortable atmosphere for the volunteers while they gave their time in support of MDA and encouraged others to donate for the cause. While culinary students served pasta with grilled chicken and meatballs, Branson entertainer Terry Sanders played the part of Barney Fife, cheerfully taking photos with the “jailbirds” in the room. Jerry Bear, MDA Executive Director, stood with “Barney” while volunteers accepted donations at the door.
“We greatly appreciate DECA, the Jailbirds, and all the people who supported them for making this an important event every year,” said Bear. The combined efforts of the students led to the lockup raising $14,752 for MDA. And while this is a great gift for the association, there are more far-reaching benefits for the DECA students who put in both time and effort to make the event possible.
Billi Jo Stringer, the DECA chapter’s advisor, encouraged her students to mingle and chat with the community members giving their time that day, allowing them to meet prominent members of the community.
“These students are going to want to be employed at some point in their life or start their own business,” said Stringer. “To have exposure to entrepreneurs in our community is a great asset.” The students were able to practice the professional skills DECA is known for encouraging and developing while introducing themselves to prominent members of the community.
Maddy Jones, the president of Rolla’s high school DECA chapter, said the team came up with the idea and theme themselves, which were both great opportunities to practice their marketing skills. Jones explained the motivation behind DECA, joining with Billi Jo Stringer to share their goals for the coming months.
“DECA is an association of marketing students that prepares emerging leaders and entrepreneurs in marketing, finance, hospitality, and management in high schools and colleges around the globe,” said Jones. “All of these…are based on what people want to do after high school.” The club prepares students at both the high school and collegiate levels for a career in the business world, allowing them to get ahead of the game at a young age.
The DECA students also competed in their district competition in Jefferson City, on Thursday, Jan. 9, where students joined events based on their individual interests and skills. Students interested in entrepreneurship were able to compose a thirty page business plan to present before a judge. Those who qualified during the district competition will be eligible to compete at the state level at The Lake of the Ozarks later in the year.
DECA plans to carry on their current momentum by hosting a mystery dinner next month, which community members will be welcome to attend once further details are announced. The Rolla High School DECA chapter looks forward to their continuing relationship with the community.