SAUK RAPIDS -- Twenty-one students will represent Sauk Rapids-Rice at the International Career Development Conference in Atlanta, Georgia next month, the Super Bowl of DECA competition.

DECA is a student organization with a focus on marketing, management, with a large amount of student participation across Minnesota and the country. DECA has been in Sauk Rapids since the early 70's.

John Rasmussen is a Marketing Teacher and DECA Advisor at Sauk Rapids-Rice High School. He says the team's success comes after plowing through a lot of different criteria at competitions.

"There are literally hundreds of performance indicators, which is what they [the judges] look for. Each event has some specific ones. And they also have instructional areas that have their own, and that's what the judges are looking for."

Rasmussen says they've had sustained success -- qualifying kids for the international competition -- for almost 20 straight years. He says the success comes to the team, because of some dedicated students.

"We start on this at the beginning of the school year. And our students come in, they're here on President's Day, Martin Luther King Day, when we don't have school, they're in here working on either on research projects or case problems."

Sauk Rapids has a DECA team of over 100 students and sent 82 to the state conference earlier this month. In the state there are around 3,500 DECA student members that compete with each other.

At the international conference, they'll be around 20,000. That competition will be April 21-24. There will be 40-50 events the students will compete in at the international competition.

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