Eight members of the Owatonna High School DECA program attended the recent international conference in Nashville, Tennessee.

Laura Bloomenrader, Alex Emanuelson and Brooke Otterson participated in the Thrive Academy. Lydia Anez and Riley Arthur competed in Marketing Communications team role play. Karissa Hilstad, Anna Keltto and Brady Ruiter presented a Learn and Earn project.

DECA competitions are designed to simulate real-life business situations and test the students' understanding of the scenarios and help develop appropriate skills. During the school year, students participate in local, regional and state events. Owatonna hosted a regional competition at Christian Family Church in January. Nearly 60 OHS students went on to compete at a state event in March.

Owatonna DECA had about 100 members in the program this school year. The goal is to prepare students for careers in finance, marketing, management and hospitality.

While in Nashville for the international conference, students attended a concert at The Grand Ole Opry with Lindsay Ell and Craig Morgan and went to a minor league baseball game. The opening session featured a performance by Lauren Alaina from American Idol. About 18,000 students participated in the conference, according to a news release provided to KRFO radio by the OHS DECA department. Overall DECA has about 120,000 members.

Scott Pierce is the Owatonna adviser for DECA. In the submitted photo Owatonna's eight students pose in front of the Nashville iconic music venue. From left to right are Lydia Anez, Riley Arthur, Laura Bloomenrader, Anna Keltto, Brooke Otterson, Karissa Hilstad and Brady Ruiter.

Photo provided by OHS DECA