Rogers High School senior Andre Ramsey has been running a whirlwind campaign for executive president of the international DECA organization this week. Though voting will end Friday, the results won’t be revealed until next month.
DECA is a nonprofit organization that allows high school and college students to compete in areas such as marketing, finance, hospitality and management. There are chapters in all 50 states plus Canada, Puerto Rico, Germany and Guam.
Ramsey has served as president of Area 11, which includes Eastern Washington, for the past two years, but he’s had his sights set higher since the beginning.
He began competing in DECA competitions his freshman year of high school. His DECA mentor was a senior and a state officer. Ramsey advanced to the international competition that year and saw the elections for international office firsthand, which inspired him to want to run for the organization’s highest elected position someday.
Since then he’s been elected the Area 11 president for the past two years, an experience he called amazing.
“It’s mainly competition for the normal members,” he said. “As president, I really shifted to servant leadership.”
Area presidents typically also hold a statewide office. Ramsey was Washington state vice president of leadership during his first term, and this year he has been the vice president of Marketing.
“In that position, it’s a lot of social media,” he said.
During his term as vice president of leadership, Ramsey is particularly proud of a Chapter Leadership Academy he helped create for the fall 2019 conference.
“We spent two to three months creating the curriculum,” he said.
DECA has helped support him during high school, Ramsey said.
“Throughout the last four years, this organization has been a family,” he said.
Ramsey has been focusing on his campaign for months. In December, he had to write a letter of intent in order to get approval to run. He then had to fill out an executive officer application, which included a resume, details of his plan if elected and a description of his platform. He had to answer a series of candidate questions, create a flyer and write a speech.
Over the weekend, he had an interview with the nominating committee, took a test on his knowledge of DECA and participated in a question-and-answer session with the current executive president and the other three candidates.
He couldn’t officially begin campaigning until early Tuesday and the campaign was scheduled to end midday Thursday with voting to follow. He prepared by creating videos and building a campaign website.
“I have a well thought-out social media calendar with hour-by-hour posts,” he said earlier this week.
Ramsey and the two other executive president candidates, one from Virginia and the other from Massachusetts, were put in a Facebook group with the voting delegates where the voters could ask questions. Not all DECA members are allowed to vote in the elections.
“Each association gets a certain amount of voting delegates,” Ramsey said. “Usually, they’re state officers. It’s only specific people.”
However the election turns out, Ramsey said he’s gained valuable skills.
“I learned a lot of time management and how to delegate tasks,” he said.
In the past, he’s preferred to do things himself because he knows if he does, things will turn out the way he wants.
But his campaign was too big, and Ramsey learned to lean on his campaign manager and others who helped him.
Ramsey has been accepted to Harvard University, where he plans to study economics and government. He plans to take a gap year off if he wins the election so he can focus on his role as executive president.
“I know my DECA story doesn’t end here, and I want to continue to serve,” he said.
Nina Culver can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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