Student Features

Senior Earns DECA’s Emerging Leader Award

Mar 30, 2021

Sarah wearing DECA blazer

Sarah Seader proudly wears her DECA blazer.

Joining PA Cyber's DECA chapter on a whim as a freshman has led Sarah Seader, 18, to new heights in her senior year. The honor student from Brownsville earned DECA's Emerging Leader Honor Award in recognition of her academic and leadership accomplishments and social responsibility.

As chapter president, Sarah values the opportunities DECA has presented to her. DECA helps emerging leaders prepare for careers in marketing, finance, hospitality, and management. Members choose one of approximately 60 subcategories for competition at district events. They can also participate in chapter campaigns and attend educational conferences where they learn emerging industry trends.

"Everybody has the opportunity to find something they're passionate about in DECA," says Sarah, who found her calling in marketing. During her first year she explored business administration, but once she switched to marketing in her sophomore year, she stuck with it.

You never know what might happen at a DECA event. At the state conference in 2019, Sarah walked down a runway for the first time in a modeling competition after a friend persuaded her to give it a try.

Making friends at conferences and competitions has been a highlight for her. They trade pins and even hats at events. Since DECA is an international organization, she has interacted with members from around the world.

While competitions are key to the DECA experience, members also host charity events, hold fundraisers, and play games. Sarah visited Universal Studios in Orlando when they closed the park for a few hours for DECA members.

Sarah takes a leading role in several other PA Cyber groups, including president of Student Council, vice president of American Sign Language Club, co-vice-president of Youth Ambassadors Club, and secretary of the Maker Club. She belongs to the National Honor Society as well as additional clubs within the school and her community. As a staff member of the PA Cyber Press, she was thrilled to interview Stanley Cup Champion Tyler Kennedy of the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Opportunities to explore passions

Sarah joined PA Cyber in fifth grade because a friend told her she would appreciate having so many classes and clubs to choose from. Due to the extra downtime, she ended up having more time to read, volunteer, take part in clubs, and attend field trips.

"I didn't used to think of myself as an avid reader, but PA Cyber's online libraries and reading events helped me realize I love books more than I originally thought," she says. Besides participating in reading competitions, she interviews authors for the teen-focused Bridges and Books podcast. She is even writing a young adult fantasy novel.

Sarah will attend California University of Pennsylvania in the fall, planning to earn a dual major in business (with a focus on marketing) and veterinary science. Though she is a high school senior, she has already taken two courses at Cal U. She will join their honors program, and she hopes to start a DECA chapter there.

Sarah plans to open her own business someday so she can combine her many interests. She shared that being part of PA Cyber has taught her that variety leads to a fulfilling life. As she finishes her senior year, she advises her fellow online students to take advantage of as many extracurricular opportunities as they can because they'll learn something new and connect with new people. "There's a stigma that you're not going to have any social friendships in cyber school, but I'd say that's a false assumption because I have a lot of friends in PA Cyber."

Sarah Seader

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About PA Cyber

Serving students in kindergarten through 12th grade, the Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School (PA Cyber) is one of the largest, most experienced, and most successful online public schools in the nation. PA Cyber's online learning environments, personalized instructional methods, and choices of curricula connect Pennsylvania students and their families with state-certified and highly-qualified teachers, and rich academic content that is aligned to state standards. Founded in 2000, PA Cyber is headquartered in Midland (Beaver County) and maintains a network of support offices throughout the state. As a public school, PA Cyber is open for enrollment by any school-age child residing in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and does not charge tuition to students or families.