On Tuesday, October 11, 2016, the students of Memorial’s DECA chapter had the chance to attend the DECA Fall Leadership Conference located at the Southern New Hampshire University. Attendees were instructed upon signing up to chose two of four workshops that were being offered at the conference: Team Building, Defining Your Personal Brand, Elevator Statements, and Teaming Up To Make A Difference. Both of the workshops Team Building and Elevator Statements were led by trainers from FOCUS training, Alyssa Chang and Latrell Armstrong. Defining Your Personal Brand was led by Shannon Oleen, a former NFL cheerleader. The conference’s keynote speaker this year was Eddie Slowikowski, who is a Gold Medal winner for the USA Track & Field Team and one of the world’s most dynamic speakers. From all of his experience as an athlete and a speaker, Eddie knows what it takes to be elite.
Those who arrived early to the conference went to a mini session with speaker Eddie Slowikowski. Eddie introduced himself to the lot of us before going into stories of himself as a child, as a teenager, and as an adult. Most of the stories were accompanied by some sort of music that fit with every word he spoke. At some point in the session, Eddie had each of us stand up and do dance moves including “the sprinkler,” “the pencil sharpener,” and others. Doing this got all of our spirits a little less dim, which was his exact goal. To finish off his keynote speech, Eddie proceeded to perform a ten minute long “through the decades” dance. His final move, to everyone’s happiness, was the dab.
From the keynote speech, we were sent off to our previously chosen workshops. In Team Building, we were instructed to find a group of eight, the catch being that only one other person from your own school could be in your group. Once groups were made, Alyssa Chang explained to us that our challenge was to create a human-machine; however, it could not be an already existing machine, such as a washing machine. Giving us twenty minutes, Alyssa told us we had to construct a 30 second infomercial including every person in the group and explaining the product, while persuading people to want to buy it. Once the twenty minutes were up, each group had to perform their commercial. Machines that were created ranged from a closet that chooses your outfit for the day based on the weather, to a clock that slaps you every morning to wake you up.
After the first workshop, everyone took a small break to eat lunch and then it was right back to the workshops. Teaming Up to Make a Difference was Eddie Slowikowski’s actual workshop. We were instructed to find a group of ten – no limitations on who could be in your group – and then pick a spot in the gymnasium to set ourselves. Eddie instructed each group to pick a team leader and a team name – mine being ManchVegas – before he told us all that each round would consist of either one or multiple songs being played. Each team member had to write down one letter of the song and the artist until the whole thing was written out. Two members had to take the paper with the answer and run to an adult standing somewhere in the room. The catch, the runners had to be holding hands and only four adults were stationed throughout meaning only four of eighteen groups could score each round. This continued for seven or so rounds, each round changing how the group could write their answer, etc. The final round consisted of a dance off, the team working together and the team who was most into it would win. Team ManchVegas won the dance off and the overall challenge. After we had all calmed, Eddie pointed out to us all that in order for our group to be successful we all had to work together as a team. We discussed the attributes of a good working team and Eddie answered any questions we had on team work in general. From there, it was back to the bus and on our way home to Manchester Memorial High School.