DECA state competitors prepare for the upcoming competitions

John Martin, Staff Writer

With over 300 members, DECA, an association of marketing students, is a popular co-curricular program.

“If a student is enrolled in a marketing class, [he or she] can participate in DECA,” marketing teacher and DECA co-adviser Karyn Jones said. “Besides competition, it also prepares students for future leadership roles in a multitude of ways.”

In general, the program serves to provide its members with thorough preparation for a future in marketing, entrepreneurship or other business-focused careers. In competitions, students are evaluated through both a written component, such as an exam or report, and an interactive component, such as a scenario role-play with a judge. Because of the wide range of categories, each with a different specialization, separate events are evaluated with different written and interactive components.

“I like DECA because it has a lot of practical skills you can use,” sophomore and DECA officer Lily Craig said. “A lot of people will hold a job in some sort of business in their life, so it really prepares you to conduct yourself professionally. You learn a lot of real-world applicable [skills] that you can use outside of the classroom.”

Between March 3 and 5, over 100 students will attend the state competition, the State Leadership Conference (SLC), in Virginia Beach.

“Everybody has been getting prepared for the competitions coming up,” marketing teacher and DECA co-adviser Chris Kohlasch said. “A lot of groups are confident, and they’ve been working really hard.”

In addition, some students who perform well at SLC will have the opportunity to travel to Anaheim, Calif. for the international competition, the International Career Development Conference (ICDC), from April 26 to 29.

“Our chance of making it to the international competition is a lot higher because of the amount of people we have attending,” Craig said. “[Our teachers] are helping us, so we always have on-hand guidance with our projects.”

Last year, DECA found success at the 2016 international competition in Nashville, Tenn.

“We brought 40 competitors to the competition [last year],” Kohlasch said. “We had a student who placed second internationally in their category and another who placed third internationally in his category.”

As the competition dates draw closer, students have been hard at work making sure presentations and reports are complete and polished, studying for exams and role-plays and finishing all the necessary preparations before the competition.

“I think that we’re going to do well [at SLC],” Kohlasch said. “I wouldn’t be surprised if we brought a lot of people out to California for our international competition.”