Creating Future Business Leaders


Anjali Chinnareddy, Reporter

If you have ever come into school early, chances are you have seen stampedes of people rushing in the direction of the school store, AKA The Falcon’s Nest, run by none other than by our own DECA organization here at Briar Woods.

DECA is a not-for-profit organization that helps students prepare for careers in marketing, hospitality, finance, and management. There are about 3,200 high school chapters and over 160,000 members across the US, Canada, Guam, Puerto Rico, and Germany. The collegiate level of DECA includes over 5,000 members throughout 200 colleges and universities.

DECA students and advisors work hard to push out merchandise for our school store. Their research uncovers the newest trends, which help to ensure students will want to buy their products. If there are items that don’t sell out, they will be tucked away in inventory and sold at the end of the year for discount prices. If it is a holiday item without the year, they will keep it in inventory and try to sell it again the following year. Many items that the school store sells contribute directly to the community service aspect of DECA. For example, when the school store did a pink out, it contributed to Breast Cancer Awareness, and when selling camouflage-themed merchandise, they collaborated with Students for the Troops.

Renae Sterling is one of three DECA advisors at Briar Woods, who also include Heather Vandyke and Meredith Young. Mrs. Sterling teaches business and has been advising for six years. After graduating college, she entered the corporate world, which helped her discover her passion for business. Her role consists of helping students organize career events and working as a lead mentor to support student leaders. She also assists in designing Briar Woods merchandise. When asked about her favorite part of being an advisor, Sterling answered, “[Her favorite part is] the field trips, community service, and the competitions.” Some of the community service projects they support include suicide prevention awareness and mental health initiatives, such as the Ryan Bartel Foundation. 

So what if you want to join DECA but don’t necessarily want to compete, can you still join? Renae Sterling answered, “[Students] don’t have to compete, [but they] highly recommend students do. [Students] can also just help out with the community service aspect.”

If you want to check out the amazing collection of merchandise that students have created or want to support the DECA organization, please make sure to stop by the school store during any school day from 8:40 am to 9:10 am.