Alice McKinney Receives 40 Years of Service

After 40 years with DECA, you’d think nothing would shake Alice McKinney, a marketing teacher and DECA advisor from Bellaire High School in Bellaire, Texas. As it turns though, receiving her 40 Years of Service Recognition Award at the 2013 International Career Development Conference Grand Awards Session was enough to stir even one of DECA’s longest-tenured veterans.

“I feel very humbled,” McKinney said. “I was very surprised. And I was happy. It was very moving to realize that each day you come to work and do the things that you were hired to do, and when you enjoy it, time passes so fast that you don’t realize until someone tells you that you’ve been in this place this long.”

DECA’s Years of Service Recognition Awards annually recognize chapter advisors for their time. The awards for 5 to 35 years of service are presented to recipients at the association’s career development conference. Advisors with 40 and 45 years of service are recognized during the DECA International Career Development Conference. As a 2013 recipient of the 40 Years of Service Recognition Award, McKinney is in esteemed company: Gary Colvin of Kentucky DECA, Ellen Karch of Northern Burlington Regional High School in Columbus, N.J., and Janis Cosgrove of West Chester East High School in West Chester, Penn. also reached this DECA milestone.

McKinney said that, if there’s one thing she’s learned throughout her time with DECA, it’s to be flexible.

“It’s been exciting and challenging, because in this program, every day is a different day. It keeps you on your toes, because you have to be able to maneuver around the situations that you’re given, and if you’re not flexible, if you can’t adjust, then you’re going to have a problem, and it’s going to stress you out. I’ve learned not to be stressed out.”

As McKinney reflected upon her time with DECA, she offered some sage wisdom to new advisors who now stand in the shoes she filled four decades ago.

“Find a mentor and let them show you the ropes, and then incorporate your own ideas as you go along and work with students. Each student is different, and you can’t apply everything across the board the same. Be patient with your students. Be patient with yourself.”

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