By Tom Tolen /

A total of 61 Brighton High School DECA Club members competed in the District 4 DECA Conference last weekend, bringing home an impressive 86 medals.

Some 38 of them now qualify for the state competition, to be held at Huntington Place (formerly Cobo Hall) in Detroit in March. Some 650 students representing 16 schools were entered in the district competition, held at Eastern Michigan University.

DECA, which formerly stood for Distributive Education Clubs of America, is a non-profit organization with 175,000 members around the world that prepares high school and college students for careers in marketing, entrepreneurship, finance, hospitality and management. The Brighton DECA team lead adviser is Brent Luplow, who is a marketing and business teacher at Brighton High.

His “tag team” partner in the DECA competition is Michelle Costa, who is a marketing and computer science teacher at BHS. Luplow says he is extremely proud of the Brighton contingent, who, he says, represented their school and community admirably.

Luplow says he’s "super pleased with the results of their efforts to prepare and execute, adding, "It was awesome to see the results of their hard work and taking what they learned in the classroom into the real world.”

Although there were no team awards, Luplow says the Brighton contingent performed extremely well against some stiff competition. There are three different medal types: exemplary test score, exemplary role play and overal finalist for Michigan.

The Brighton representatives won medals in Team Buying and Merchandising, Team Financial Services Team Hospitality Services Team Marketing Management, Apparel and Accessories Marketing, Business Finance, Business Services Marketing, Entrepreneurship, Food Marketing, Hotel and Lodging Management, Human Resource Management, Marketing Communications, Quick Service Restaurant Management, Retail Merchandising, and Sports and Entertainment Marketing.

The 38 finalists from the BHS team will be competing in the statewide DECA Conference at Huntington Place in downtown Detroit from March 9-11. Those who qualify for nationals will then participate in the International Career Development Conference in Orlando, FL, April 21-26. Luplow says last year, seven Brighton DECA members competed in the international event at Orlando, bringing home a number of medals and trophies.

Photos, from top: BHS DECA Club members who competed at the districts at EMU; Eric McCormick and Kaylee Gray (Hospitality and Tourism team award); Nathan Deetz (Automotive Services Marketing award.