4 DHS students selected for DECA Ignite Academy

Published 5:15 pm Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Danville High School’s DECA chapter is making an impact on the state level. Four of its members are four of 13 students in the state to be selected for Ignite Academy during its International Career Development Conference. DHS also has its first student to hold a DECA regional officer position.

DECA is an organization that aims to equip students with the skills for careers in marketing, finance, hospitality and management. Ignite Academy is for emerging leaders and helps students learn how to take their DECA experience to the next level.

The four students selected for Ignite Academy are sophomores Brynn Haden-McCowan and Anna Watson, and freshmen Lilly Bratcher and Charlie Kinkade. They will be attending the conference in Anaheim, California, from April 26 to May 1.

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Danielle Johnson, a junior, is Danville’s first student to hold a DECA regional officer position. Johnson is vice president of public relations for region four.

“It goes a long way of showing outstanding performance, the drive, the future of our chapter,” said Scott Damico, the DHS DECA adviser and business and marketing teacher.

The students headed to Ignite Academy are excited to learn more about DECA.

“I feel very honored to be selected for Ignite Academy, and I thank my parents and my teachers and coaches that helped me get up to this point for leadership with DECA,” said Haden-McCowan.

Haden-McCowan is excited to learn more about public relations and social media management through DECA as well.

Watson wants a leadership position with DECA in the future.

“I’m super happy that we all got chosen because I think all of us have worked hard, and we all gave it our best throughout the whole time we spent doing DECA,” Watson said. “I’m super excited to learn more about DECA because I really want to do better next year, to be able to qualify and everything like that, because I plan to do it for the rest of high school.”

Bratcher said, “I just know that I want to do DECA for all four years because I’ve had a good experience with it the entire time, and there are school trips involved.”

Kinkade added that experience with DECA enhances skills with other extracurriculars.

“I feel good,” Kinkade said. “I think it’ll help not only with DECA but with other stuff, like TSA and forensics.”

Johnson, who is representing Danville as vice president of public relations for region four of Kentucky next year, is also excited to learn more in a new role.

“Honestly, I’m kind of nervous, but I’m prepared at the same time,” Johnson said.

In addition to guiding the team himself, Damico said that the older students mentor the younger students often, and work on projects together. He said for example, seniors Christina Johnson and KeSean Jones, who are the DHS chapter’s president and vice president of leadership, help their team members at meetings and practice sessions.

DECA also gives members the opportunity to help out in the community; for example, the team recently helped set up at the 2024 Spring Regional Job Fair at the Showroom on April 11.

The team has had a lot of success, with 18 members who competed in the state competition earlier this year: KeSean Jones, Christina Johnson, Danielle Johnson, Jamaree Johnson, Happy Sleeper, Lilly Bratcher, Betzua Gonzalez-Ralac, Kairi Guest, Xari Perrin, Brynn Haden-McCowan, Charlie Kinkade, Anthony Martinez, Christian Oakley, David Shelton, Hailey Thrasher, Anna Watson, Zykia Duggan and Alex Barber. Kingston Jones was an alternate.

Eleven of the students made it to the state finals: Jones and Haden-McCowan, Christina Johnson and Danielle Johnson, Bratcher and Kinkade, Sleeper and Gonzalez-Ralac, and Jamaree Johnson in an individual event.