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DECA Student Pulls Two Firsts

<bt>Potomac Falls High School student Alex Moses already has a taste of the work world.

The 17-year-old junior participates in the Association of Marketing Students (DECA), is taking her second marketing class and works at a retail store in the Dulles Town Center.

Moses has a taste of leadership through her role as district president this year and as Virginia's executive vice-president for the 2002-03 school year. And she has a taste of being first.

The Potomac Falls girl was selected as the Virginia DECA Outstanding District President of the year, an award started this year based on meeting several club requirements and on a written submission explaining why the award is deserved. Moses mentioned helping start a newsletter for the district DECA, which includes all the DECA clubs in Loudoun County, and encouraging more chapter involvement and communication.

"My goal is to keep us a united district. We can become a stronger team as a district," Moses said.

Moses is the first Loudoun County student to achieve a state level of office in DECA. She was named to the office at the Virginia State Leadership Conference from March 15-17 and, in her role, will attend several workshops, conferences and speaking engagements during the next school year.

THE DECA CLUB, which has 124 members in Potomac Falls, helps marketing students explore career options and gives them a chance to participate in competitions. Students compete by taking tests on marketing concepts, then applying the concepts to real life business situations.

Moses has done the same by applying what she has learned in her marketing classes and in DECA to working at Limited Too, where she started almost a year ago.

"I learned how to handle customers," Moses said, adding that she learned proper etiquette at work, what it takes to be a good employee and a team player, and how to handle different situations by finding out what does and does not work. "I like what it has to offer. It's a really interesting field where you can apply what you know," she said.

DECA has a second role of involving students in the school. The club holds fund-raising activities to support the club's functions, hosts school activities and raises awareness on certain issues, including the national economic slowdown resulting, in part, from the Sept. 11 terrorist attack.

DECA encouraged students to give stockings to the Community Holiday Coalition for distribution to needy families in December 2001. The club was selected as a state finalist for the civic consciousness project during the Virginia State Leadership Conference.

"I love being a member of DECA," Moses said. "It gives you a lot of opportunities."

MOSES ATTENDED four DECA leadership conferences this year, including a state leadership development academy in Salt Lake City, Utah from April 19-24. Six DECA students from Potomac Falls and another 14 students from high schools countywide attended the DECA National Career Development Conference, which included leadership training and competitions.

"I've learned to work better with people. I've learned when to take charge and when not to," Moses said.

This summer, Moses will attend a leadership development institute for Virginia state DECA officers. The officers will be asked to develop a work program and identify what they plan to accomplish in the upcoming year.

"We need to improve communication," Moses said, adding that maintaining club involvement will be important with a growing membership of a club that now has about 10,000 members statewide. "Everything's growing, and we need to be able to support that. ... We need to get DECA out there and let people know it's a good group."

Moses' advisors Sandi Tucker and Kathy Chrisman, both marketing teachers, were not available to comment, since they also were at the conference.

"They try to bring out the best in everyone," Moses said. "I couldn't have done what I did without them there. They put so much time and energy into helping you. ... They oversee it, but they want to see our leadership potential. They hint to us, but they let us run it."

Moses added, "We're a close-knitted group. We accomplish things together."

Moses plans to major in marketing, likely at the University of Virginia or Virginia Tech, she said.