First Ever for Big Island Students:

Hilo to Orlando and back: 9,280 miles. 8 airplane flights. 1 dedicated advisor. 6 State winners. 3 international Finalists. Students from Hilo High’s DECA program garnered top honors from the International Career Development Conference (ICDC) held April 24-26 in Orlando, Florida.

“I’m proud to say three of my students are the first from the Big Island to place as Finalists at the International Level”, said DECA advisor Patrick Jenkins, adding, “Our hard work and dedication really paid off.” DECA (Distributive Education Clubs of America) is an international high school and collegiate association that prepares emerging business leaders and entrepreneurs for careers in marketing, finance, hospitality, and management.

To advance to the DECA Internationals, which attracted 18,000 attendees this year, competitors must have placed 1st or 2nd at the state conference held in February in Honolulu. International Finalists are determined by scores from a 100 question exam and two business role plays. The team of Patrick Palad and Lopaka O’Connor earned a finalist medal in their category Financial Services, and went on to finish in the Top 10.

Kenneth Kitahata collected a finalist medal in Marketing Management. The duo Nyadean Campbell and Blair Bolema competed in the category Travel and Tourism. Justin Scharf competed in Marketing Management. The trip was made possible through student fundraising and generous corporate sponsorships from Big Island Candies, Techy3 Design Studios, Big Island Toyota, First Hawaiian Bank, Big Island FCU, Tracy Lewis Realtors, and K&J Holdings. Visit the “Hilo High School DECA” Facebook page for more information and photos.