Nathaniel Rafe Earns Highest Honor

Badger High School DECA Member Earns Recognition at DECA’s Virtual International Career Development Conference
Posted on 05/07/2021
Badger High School DECA Member Earns Recognition at DECA’s Virtual International Career Development Conference

Badger High School DECA member Nathaniel Rafe earned one of the organization’s highest honor at DECA’s International Career Development Conference (ICDC) held virtually during the month of April this year.


Rafe, a junior, earned 3rd place overall in the Hospitality and Tourism, Professional Selling category.

Nearly 13,000 DECA members competed during the virtual conference, representing the best-of-the-best from association conferences that qualified them to attend this elite group of competitors. Most of DECA’s 59 competitive events each fielded approximately 175 competition entries, representing thousands of competitors at the local, regional and state/provincial levels. Rafe is part of 15% of DECA competitors who earned an international medallion for their excellence on an exam or presentation or as an overall finalist.


“These DECA members should be commended for earning the remarkable recognition as an international honoree,” said Frank Peterson, executive director of DECA Inc. “Their success in our competitive events program — especially in a virtual format — is just one indicator that they are striving to be college and career ready through their classroom learning.”


DECA members presented case study solutions and presentations through recorded videos, with approximately the top 20 competitors in each competitive event earning the opportunity to deliver a final presentation in a virtual meeting with a business professional live over Zoom®.


“I am thankful for the guidance and support of my advisors throughout,” said Rafe, who was recognized at ICDC. This was Nathaniel’s second DECA competition. He is an active member and serves as Badger DECA’s Vice-President of Marketing this year.  After high school, he plans to continue his education in business or accounting.


Rafe encourages others to join DECA. “It’s a great headstart on business applications and the business world,” he said.


DECA’s competitive events program is aligned to National Curriculum Standards in the career clusters of marketing, business management, finance, and hospitality and tourism. With categories such as the Integrated Marketing Campaign, Start-Up Business Plan, Business Law and Ethics Team Decision Making, Hospitality and Tourism Professional Selling and Business Finance, the competitive events are designed to simulate real-life business scenarios and test students’ academic understanding and skills development. During this year’s virtual format, nearly 1,000 business professionals from across the world evaluated DECA members’ concepts, ideas and projects against industry-validated performance indicators.  

“As an integral component of classroom instruction, our industry-validated competitive events program helps ensure that DECA members learn the knowledge and skills that industry says are important to be successful in their future career,” said Christopher Young, chief program officer at DECA Inc. “Business professionals volunteer to evaluate DECA members against those standards in determining our international champions, thus reinforcing our DECA members’ career readiness.”


This year’s #DECAICDC featured 17,000 members and advisors in attendance. In addition to career-based competition, DECA members engaged in a series of leadership sessions, watched an interview with keynote Marcus Lemonis from CNBC’s The Profit, and streamed video presentations provided by more than 50 internationally recognized businesses.


Badger DECA had success at prior ICDC conferences.  “We have had over 100 students since 1999 place in the top ten in their event by making International Finals,” stated Huff. Badger has had 15 different students finish with a top three trophy in their respective events.  Most recently Badger’s School-Based Enterprise - Food Service placed 3rd overall at the last ICDC held in 2019.  Prior to that, Badger students have won in events such as Sports and Entertainment Team Decision Making, Food Marketing, H&R Block Financial Literacy Challenge, and Fashion Merchandising Promotion Plan.  This is  Badger’s first win in one of DECA's professional selling events.


About DECA Inc.
DECA is a career and technical student organization that prepares emerging leaders and entrepreneurs who are interested in careers in marketing, finance, hospitality, and management. DECA enhances the preparation for college and careers by providing co-curricular programs that integrate into classroom instruction, apply learning, connect to business and promote competition. DECA student members leverage their DECA experience to become academically prepared, community oriented, professionally responsible, experienced leaders. DECA is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit with more than 150,000 members in 4,000 high school and college chapters in all 50 United States, Canada, Guam, Puerto Rico and Germany.

For more information about DECA, visit

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