Lima Sr. students place sixth at international competition

LIMA — A good spokesperson is vital to any business wanting to build their profile and reputation. They put a human face to the organization and can effectively communicate your messages to the public and the media. The Griffin Legacy Foundation could not have found two better spokespersons than Keegan Halliday and Matilda Nelson, juniors at Lima Senior High School.

Both Halliday and Nelson participate in the Distributive Education Clubs of America chapter at Lima Senior. They recently finished sixth in the DECA International Competition in Atlanta, GA. The duo was the only team from Ohio to advance in the event. According to the DECA website, DECA is “an integral part of the classroom curriculum, DECA’s industry-validated competitive events are aligned with the National Curriculum Standards in the career clusters of marketing, business management and administration, finance, and hospitality and tourism. DECA’s flagship evaluation process involves students in both a written component such as an exam or report and an interactive component with an industry professional serving as a judge. DECA’s competitive events directly contribute to every student being college and career ready when they graduate from high school.”

Summarizing the DECA experience, Halliday says, “DECA is overall just business and marketing. They’re teaching us interview skills. They’re teaching us involvement within the whole world of business and marketing since there is really so much you can do under that guise. It’s giving us real world experience with all those things. It’s almost too numerous to count all the things were getting exposed to.”

Describing their project for the competition, Nelson explained, “We did a project for the Griffin Legacy Foundation. He (Andre Griffin) goes around putting on these camps a lot. He’s put on small camps that are of little or no cost to the attendees just to get the kids exposure to college coaches, some confidence, some skill work to help them develop into better athletes. Then he’s putting on this big camp in May which is going to be free to attendees. At the end they are going to have two scholarship winners — one male and one female each receiving $500 each and then a scholarship to a senior who has battled adversity over their high school career who gets $2,000. It’s just his way of giving back to the community because that’s what he really stands for. He wants to give back in any way he can. A lot of these kids don’t get the opportunities to extend themselves beyond Lima. So that’s what he’s really trying to do and that’s what we’re helping him promote.”

Halliday shared, “Overall we’re the ones promoting that thing and how he gives backs to kids and fights poverty through sports.”

On the day of the competition there were presentations beginning at 9:30 a.m. but their presentations wasn’t until after 3:00 p.m. They had already take the 100 question multiple choice test for part of the competition. Halliday commented, “We had done our presentation so many times. I think I speak for both of us when I say we kind of had our own sense of confidence. No matter really how we did, we wouldn’t be too mad. We’re doing the best that we can. We can’t do much better. We’re doing that absolute best we can. Our best is better that other people’s best.”

Nelson had her own view of the competition. “We knew it was an accomplishment just to get up on the stage so we thought, ‘we have our presentation down. We already took the test. Let’s just go out there and do it.’”

These two juniors exude leadership and confidence. Halliday is the captain for varsity tennis and soccer. Nelson is a three-sport athlete, competing in volleyball, basketball and softball. Nelson is the president of the junior class while Halliday is vice-president.

Nelson has a blueprint to follow for her life. “I’m going to the University of Chicago. I’m planning on playing softball there and then they have a 98% acceptance rate into medical school. So I’m going on to medical school and I hope to use the skills that I learned in DECA. I have a job in the restaurant industry. So I’m already learning my people skills, maybe some bedside manner skills. I want to become either an orthopedic surgeon or a radiologist. I hope to use my leadership skills maybe in the operating room or just throughout my studies and use my drive just to continue to do the best that I can.”

Halliday also has a life plan to follow. “I want to go into sports and exercise psychology. I want to meet with people when they’re getting to college and prepare them to take the big jump from high school sports because it is a different ball game. I plan on going to West Virginia University. They have the program, and I have met with their department for sports and exercise psychology and it just seemed like a perfect fit for me. All the stuff it has to offer is everything I want.”

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Keegan Halliday and Matilda Nelson at the international competition. Halliday and Matilda Nelson at the international competition. Submitted to The Lima News by Lima Senior High

By Dean Brown

[email protected]

Reach Dean Brown at 567-242-0409

Dean Brown joined The Lima News in 2022 as a reporter. Prior to The Lima News, Brown was an English teacher in Allen County for 38 years, with stops at Perry, Shawnee, Spencerville and Heir Force Community School. So they figured he could throw a few sentences together about education and business in the area. An award-winning photographer, Brown likes watching old black and white movies, his dog, his wife and kids, and the four grandkids - not necessarily in that order. Reach him at [email protected] or 567-242-0409.