New DECA state president hails from Little Falls

Tristen Zimmerman, a senior, has a 4.0 GPA and is rated top of her class 

By Tina SnellStaff Writer

There is a new Minnesota state president for DECA and she attends Little Falls Community High School.  Tristen Zimmerman, ranked at the top of her class with a 4.0 grade point average (GPA), was voted in during the Fall Leadership Conference held in Minneapolis Oct. 27 – 28.

“I never thought I had a chance,” Zimmerman said. “I was in shock while walking to the stage.”

Zimmerman said DECA’s president is chosen through voting by the delegates from the Minnesota schools plus from the score she received during the interview process with the DECA board.

“The number of delegates from each school depends on the number of people in each individual club. There are more delegates from the larger Twin Cities’ schools. I was surprised to win.”

Zimmerman applied for the position with the approval of her adviser, Mike Delaney. At the conference, she took a test on DECA knowledge and was interviewed by five DECA board members. With the 11 others vying for the president’s position, she participated in a question and answer session in front of all the delegates.

Tristen Zimmerman, a senior at Little Falls Community High School, was elected state president of DECA. When she began in DECA two years ago, she wasn’t sure it was for her.
Tristen Zimmerman, a senior at Little Falls Community High School, was elected state president of DECA. When she began in DECA two years ago, she wasn’t sure it was for her.

Zimmerman was elected along with five vice-presidents.

Zimmerman’s goals for her one-year tenure include creating positive relationships with businesses;  forming scholarships for DECA members and providing interns from the various chapters for local businesses. She wants to personalize the Minnesota DECA brochures to make them less generic and wants to see more chapters host local events to raise awareness for Muscular Dystrophy, DECA’s charity of choice.

“I heard about DECA when I was a sophomore and I checked it out. I was skeptical about the club at first, but the international competition and the scholarships kept me in. After the first competition, I learned I had a calling,” Zimmerman said.

“The first year I was the chapter’s treasurer,” she said. “I competed during the district conference and took first place in Employment Interviews and Human Resources Management.”

That qualified her for state competition where she landed within the top eight in Employment Interviews. From there, Zimmerman went to Salt Lake City for the International Conference.

As a junior, Zimmerman was the vice president of her Little Falls chapter. She again attended district competition and took first place in Employment Interviews and Human Resource Management.

She went to state and took second place in Employment Interviews and first place in Financial Literacy. She was also awarded the Minnesota DECA Speakers Bureau Award for her partnerships with local businesses concerning financial literacy along with talking to various groups on the subject.

“I was also awarded the Minnesota DECA Outstanding Member Award,” she said. Delaney nominated her.

At the DECA International Conference in California, Zimmerman was rated in the top 20 percent in the world for DECA’s Financial Literacy Promotion Project.

Zimmerman’s duties as president include assisting in operations, planning, organization and evaluation of all Minnesota DECA chapter activities. She will also promote growth and development of DECA in Minnesota, looking out for the general welfare of the group.

Zimmerman will preside over all business meetings and make the necessary committee appointments. She will work with an executive council to develop a program to accomplish her goals and the goals of her vice presidents.

“I will be representing approximately 3,000 DECA members in Minnesota,” she said.

DECA was founded in 1946 to insure students were academically prepared, community oriented, had professional responsibility and left school as experienced leaders.

Zimmerman’s future looks bright.

“DECA has helped me with communication skills, confidence and the ability to be professional. It has also helped me become organized,” she said.

While she hasn’t decided on which college she will be attending, her goal is obtaining a degree in molecular biology/biochemistry with a minor degree in history. Then medical school and a career as a surgeon.

In her spare time, Zimmerman played varsity volleyball and softball and is the manager for the boys basketball team. She is a LINK crew leader, partnered with a freshman, is a member of Target, Fellowship of Christian Athletes and a youth group leader at Little Falls Alliance Church.

Zimmerman is the daughter of Tonya Zimmerman, who she said has always supported her decisions.