A Merrick student has been elected president of the New York State Chapter of DECA -- the Distributive Education Clubs of America.

Irene Kowalski, a Sanford H. Calhoun High School junior, will oversee more than 120 high school chapters in New York. She was named to the post during the 2015 New York DECA State Career Conference in Rochester.

"I felt I'm a very experienced leader and one of the most competitively successful people in my state," said Kowalski, 17.

DECA prepares students for careers in marketing, finance, hospitality, management and other business areas.

The state's DECA Executive Council is tasked with creating a program of work and goals for state chapters to refer to throughout the school year.

To be eligible, Kowalski said she earned more than 70 DECA points over the past three school years through her performance in competitions and participation in community service efforts. She made a presentation to the current executive council about her desire to be president.

Kowalski was third statewide and internationally in the conference's Entrepreneurship Participating-Independent category in 2014, and fourth statewide and internationally this year.

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She is a violinist in her school's chamber orchestra and a member of the National Honor Society and the math, English and French honor societies.