Four SCTCC students are on their way to the Collegiate DECA International Career Development Conference in Orlando thanks to St. Cloud Subaru and Bobby Konnight, SCTCC alumni.
At the state competition, Annalisa Gieser placed second in Fashion Merchandising; Kenneth Horn placed third in Professional Sales; Montanna Jenson placed second in Professional Sales; and Dannilee Olson placed first in Sales.
“It was a huge relief with what Subaru is doing,” said Horn. “It’s financial freedom to be able to make this possible, otherwise I don’t think I’d be able to make this Orlando trip this year.”
Konnight reached out to advisor Becky Shand about helping fund the trip to internationals – this is the second year he’s provided funding so the students can attend the conference.
“The students are amazed that someone who sat in their classroom chairs is so willing to help them reach their goals. It warms my DECA heart!” said Shand.
Konnight also provides coaching to Collegiate DECA students before they go to competitions to give them an opportunity to practice beforehand, which is something that several alumni and industry partners offer. This year Konnight incentivized the students to do well at the state level with the promise that he and Subaru would help fund the trip to internationals.
“This is my second year competing in DECA. We went to Baltimore last year and…Bobby is the reason I was able to go. The fact that he was able to do it again this year was amazing,” said Gieser.
The international competition is held April 22-25 where the DECA members will join more than 800 others to compete for top honors in 25 different competitions. Collegiate DECA prepares emerging leaders and entrepreneurs in marketing, finance, hospitality, and management.
“DECA affords students professional growth beyond the classroom and an opportunity to network with professionals and other students around the country,” said Shand. “Former graduates are so generous with their time and expertise. It is wonderful that I am not the only one who believes in these students.”
The donation to fund the trip for the students is a part of Subaru’s Love Promise – Love Learning: “to make the pursuit of knowledge available to as many minds as possible.”
For many students, attending events like this is a financial struggle, and the donation from Konnight and Subaru makes it possible. Gieser said she’d be able to afford the trip, but the worry of draining her savings would shadow the event for her. Konnight’s generosity gives her the opportunity to focus on the competition and having fun.
The generosity is also inspiring to students who see alumni and community members giving back when they are able to.
“Bobby Konnight at Subaru was so kind. Without this sponsorship I would not have been able to go on this trip. The financial support is huge,” said Olson. “Thank you so much Bobby Konnight and St. Cloud Subaru for your contribution to the DECA program. We appreciate it so much and we can’t wait to make you proud.”